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Author Topic: Esso-teric: soylentOrange's Fanfic Thread  (Read 39307 times)
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Urban Legend
« Reply #160 on: 08-17-2008 22:37 »

@JBERGES: yeah, you arent the only one thats confused.  It was probably a dumb move to stop an update right in the middle of a flashback.  This next update ought to make things a little clearer.  Honestly, I have no idea why I made this a flashback in the first place.

part 4:
chapter 4:
_____________________________ ______________________

The sounds of the firefight behind them began to die away.  There was one final explosion, followed by a concussion that rolled like thunder off of the abandoned buildings.  Then the city was silent once again.

  “Do you think they made it?” Amy asked Leela in a whisper.

Leela had no doubts about what the outcome had been, but she tried her best to feign optimism.  “I’m sure they’re fine.” She assured her.  Inwardly she was simmering with anger.  The three DOOP soldiers were certainly dead- three good men who had done their duty to the last.  And for what?  So Zapp Brannigan could keep his velour supply safe.  It was an outrage, another entry in the already lengthy list of reasons to beat him savagely the next time they met. 

But that was neither here nor there.  First, she told herself, I need to figure out how to get us to a safe place.  She decided to head west.  In that direction lay an unfamiliar part of the city, but it was also the shortest path to the impenetrable fortress of Planet Express.  They’d only made it a few hundred yards, however, before something in the back of her mind began to whisper that they were being followed again.  In the dim starlight it was hard to tell for certain, but when she looked over her shoulder Leela thought she caught the barest hint of movement.

Ten minutes later, she was certain of it.  Someone was trailing them, a shadow within shadows, just a little too far away to be seen.  Leela was once again taking up the rear of the group.  Trying to appear as unconcerned as possible, she hastened her step to overtake the others.  She gestured for them to make a left turn into a narrow alleyway between two tall buildings and then guided them behind an overflowing dumpster, where they sat and waited.  Fry tried to speak up, but Leela slapped a hand over his mouth. 

After five minutes of waiting, with the only sound the thumping of blood through her ears, Leela caught the barest hint of a sound.  Reacting instantly, she lunged from her hiding place and threw herself at the bundle of shadow that stood before her.  The two of them landed in a heap on the cracked asphalt, arms flailing.  Leela recovered almost instantly, and soon had her quarry pinned to the ground. 

The others, sensing that it was safe, emerged from hiding.  Bender lit up his eyes, and the anonymous figure was bathed in a pool of light.  It was Walt.
_____________________________ _____________________________ _____________

Leela trained the business end of her plasma rifle at Walt’s face.  Every fiber of her being screamed at her for vengeance, and it took all of her willpower to keep herself from removing her weasel-faced tormentor’s head.  “Well, well, looky what we found here.  You have about ten seconds to explain what you’re doing here before I shove this plasma rifle down your throat.”

Walt was still lying on the ground.  He wasn’t a skilled fighter, and Leela’s attack had knocked the wind out of him.  It took him a few moments to gather the energy to stand, dust himself off, and face the PE Captain.  “I’m here for the same reason you are.” He said, and Leela couldn’t help but think that his voice made him sound like a giant rat.  “I was trying to find somewhere safe to hide.”

Of course, Leela didn’t buy that for a second.  Apparently, neither did Fry.  “Then why were you following us?” the redhead asked, crossing his arms.

“My brothers and I heard the noise from that fight you were just in, and we went to see what was going on.  Then we saw you running away from the shooting, and I decided to follow you, since you seemed to know where you were going.  I thought you might know of somewhere that was safe.”

Leela’s eye narrowed.  “And what, you thought we’d share a hiding place with you out of the goodness of our hearts?”  She laughed.  Of course he hadn’t.  She knew full well what his plan would have been: sneak in, wait until their guard was down, and then kill them all and take over the hiding place.  It wouldn’t have worked; Planet Express would have immediately alerted her if the building’s security systems had detected an unknown career chip on the premises while the building was on lockdown.  But still, the audacity of it all…  “Oh, and you can tell your two brothers to come out now.  I can see Ignar’s head peaking around the corner of that building.”

Walt turned and nodded at the shadows by the entrance to the alleyway.  Walt’s brothers, looking dirty, bruised, and just plain miserable, shuffled into the pool of light cast by Bender’s eyes.  They both looked at Leela and then quickly looked away.  They’re intimidated by me.  She realized with even more satisfaction than she would have expected.   I guess they’re not so tough without their giant spaceships, private armies, and truckloads of cash.

Leela found herself facing a difficult situation.  She was facing someone who would try to kill her at the first opportunity, but was completely unarmed.  She couldn’t shoot him right there in cold blood, no matter how enticing the idea was.  Neither could she take prisoners or tie him and his brothers up and leave them to be killed by the things roaming the city.  The only option she could think of was to scare him so badly that he would never want to cross her again.

“You’re not gonna kill them, are you?” Fry murmured, staring at her uncertainly, almost pleadingly.

“No,” she whispered, “Not yet”—she amended, hurriedly correcting herself in case Walt could overhear them.

“Guys?” She said.  “You three take Larry and Ignar over there outside the alley.  Keep an eye on them.  Walt and I are going to have a little chat… Alone.”  There was enough malice in her voice to make Fry and Bender exchange nervous glances, but Walt didn’t seem particularly impressed.  Larry and Ignar made no attempts to protest, however, when Fry and Bender each grabbed one of them by the shoulder and marched them away.

When the group was out of earshot, Leela lowered the rifle.  Her trigger finger itched terribly; she didn’t want to tempt fate.  Instead, she crossed her arms and eyed the short, balding man that was going to end up costing her hundreds of dollars in additional psychotherapy.  She fumed inwardly. The sessions about Zapp Brannigan alone had forced her to give up her SCUBA vacation touring San Diego.

“I should kill you for what you did to my friends and me.” She stated almost casually, hoping to throw Walt off balance.

Walt seemed to relax a little, now that he wasn’t staring down the barrel of a loaded weapon.  He brought his hands up to his chest and interlocked his fingers.  When he replied, he had that signature weasel grin on his face that had almost driven Leela mad.  “But you won’t.” he countered.

Anger flashed behind Leela’s eye, and her grip tightened momentarily on her rifle, but she soon regained control.  She sighed, defeated.  “No, I guess not.”  She admitted.  “I will tell you this, though.” She added, leaning toward him until her face was only mere inches from his, “If I ever see you come near me or anyone I care about ever again, I will personally break each and every bone in your twisted little body.  And that’s after I tell Mom that you let her whole Moss crop go up in flames.  You got that?”

Before Walt could reply, there was a high pitched, feminine scream from outside the alley.  Leela recognized it at once.  It was Bender.  She hesitated for a moment, not sure what to do about her captive.  She settled for giving him one final threatening look.  “Remember what we talked about.” She said, and raced toward the mouth of the alley.

She wasn’t prepared for the sight that awaited her.  A swarm of humans and robots adorned with some kind of strange, mechanical suit were marching rigidly down the street.  Wires, hoses, and circuits of unknown purpose covered large sections of the humans’ exposed flesh.  Each carried a very large gauss rifle.  Fry, Bender, and Amy were retreating toward her down the length of the alley.  Larry and Ignar were nowhere to be seen.  As Leela watched, Amy tripped over a crack in the pavement and fell to the ground.  Before she could get up again, a dozen pairs of hands had grabbed hold of her arms and legs.  The intern screamed.

“Amy!” Leela yelled, raising her weapon.  She didn’t pull the trigger.  It was too dark; she couldn’t fire without risking hitting Amy by mistake.  Fry and Bender were still scrambling down the alley, and Leela suddenly found herself standing alone against an army of… whatever they were.  There’s too many of them, she realized.  There’s no way I can fight all of them and win.  Only one option existed, difficult as it might be.  She cursed loudly.  Turning, she ran after her two remaining friends, shoving Walt, who was seemingly frozen in fear, out of the way as she passed.

The alley was a dead end.  Fry and Bender had their backs to the far wall.  Leela leveled her plasma rifle at them.  “Out of the way!” she ordered.  The robot and the ex-delivery boy jumped aside just in time.  Leela emptied an entire battery clip into the flimsy brick wall, leaving a gaping hole.  She didn’t even pause to let the dust settle.  “Come on, you two!” She ordered before disappearing into the interior of the building. 

“But what about Amy?  We can’t just leave her!” Fry pleaded.

“We can’t do anything for her just now.  Now move!”
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

  *   *   *   *   *   *   *

For the next half hour, Leela, Fry, and Bender had fled through the streets of New New York.  Eventually they had taken to the sewers in the hopes of losing their pursuers in the maze of underground tunnels.  Somewhere along the way, Bender had fallen behind, just for a moment.  By the time Leela had realized it, he had been taken. 

Now it was just her and Fry.  The irony of it struck her.  Twenty-four hours earlier she would have sooner shot herself in the foot than stay in the same room with her old coworker, but now here she was, running for her life, and he was the only one that was still with her.  Even more confusing, she couldn’t quite bury the feeling of relief that he was there.  She had some emotional baggage to sort when this was all over with; she knew that.  Not quite therapy, fortunately.  But, as the beam of electrons that hit the ceiling two meters from her face reminded her, now was not the time for emotional reflection.

Eventually Leela made the decision to leave the sewers.  They were not losing their pursuers, and they would never get out of the city if they stayed below ground.  When they managed to gain a small lead, Leela took her chance.  She directed Fry up a ladder, and the two of them emerged in a large, open construction lot.  The manhole cover made an alarming clang as Fry hauled it back into place.

“Fry, for Asimov’s sake, be more careful!” Leela hissed at him from over his shoulder, and immediately regretted it.  Fry was doing his best, and she knew it.  She knew how her mind worked; she needed to vent, to focus her anger and frustration on something, and Fry served as a means to do that.  It wasn’t fair to him though, and she couldn’t help but feel a little bad when he gave her a sideways look telling her that he knew she was using him as a release valve.  She would have to remember to apologize later.  There wasn’t time for that now.

The lot they were in was enormous.  As of yet, it wasn’t much more than a few big piles of metal beams and a foundation, but Leela could immediately tell that the structure was going to be impressive when finished.  I’ll bet this is where they’re building that new, state of the art deathball arena. She thought. 

It was hard to move quietly through the construction site and still make any forward progress.  The terrain was rough, and littered with everything from steel cables to gravel to discarded fast food containers that emitted foul odors and tried to scurry away when Leela stepped on them.  If only it weren’t so damned dark. she complained to herself.

And of course, proving once again that you should be careful what you wish for lest you be unlucky enough to get it, lights all over the construction yard immediately turned themselves on.  Leela instinctively dove into one of the nearby ten foot long sections of sewer pipe that were awaiting installation.  Fry, of course, reacted much too slowly.  By the time it occurred to him that he should have been busily making himself invisible, a hundred pairs of eyes had seen him.

A mob assembled itself around the two fugitives.  Leela couldn’t get a very good view of what was going on without risking exposing herself, but she could see that a crowd of figures carrying gauss rifles had formed a ring around them.  Leela waited for them to finish the two of them off, but they just stood there.  Finally, a dark-haired figure detached itself from the mob and walked toward Fry.  Leela heard Fry gasp.  The person that stood before them was Amy Wong… or, at least, what had once been Amy Wong.

Amy’s pink sweat suit was torn in several places.  Wires and thick cables emerged from the tears and vanished in a large, metal backpack that she was wearing.  Metal plates and complex circuitry covered part of her face and neck and, Leela assumed, much of her body.  A weak, red laser was mounted by her right eye.

“I am lo-cute-us, of Borg.” Amy declared in a voice devoid of all emotion.  “You will surrender, or be, like, gluh, totally assimilated.  Resistance is futile, and junk.”

“Umm, isn’t someone going to sue you for saying that or something?  I mean, that came right from TV.” 

Leave it to Fry to completely miss the important issue at hand.  Leela muttered darkly.

 Unexpectedly, there was a laugh from somewhere over Amy’s shoulder.  The sound, so completely out of place, actually made Leela start.  She didn’t recognize the voice, but she knew right away who it belonged to by the sudden stiffening of Fry’s posture.  Leela had been wondering when she was going to show up.

“I always was a big Trekkie myself.” Chelsea said cheerfully as she strolled to Amy’s side.  “Well, when it came to Next Gen anyway.  I couldn’t stand Kirk.”

“Chelsea?” Fry squeaked.  “What are you doing here?"

Bending Unit
« Reply #161 on: 08-18-2008 03:18 »

Nice.. very nice. Things are unraveling faster and fast now. Bit disappointed that Leela at least didn't kick Walts ass.  :p

I foresee some major Leela vs Chelsea combat in the future.  :D 
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #162 on: 08-18-2008 08:10 »

It was hard to move quietly through the construction site and still make any forward progress. The terrain was rough, and littered with everything from steel cables to gravel to discarded fast food containers that emitted foul odors and tried to scurry away when Leela stepped on them.

This gets three golden tape measures of construction-worker approval.

So I finally got around to this update and the last one. I have to admit, the flashback-thing tore my mind asunder as well. But anyway, how will Fry and Leela defeat the cyborg army, presumably by de-assimilating them without harming them? How will they deal with Chelsea? How many other psychotherapy sessions is Leela attending? How many should she be attending? (A lot more.)
And we want answers, preferably in the form of a well-written and entertaining narrative.
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
« Reply #163 on: 08-18-2008 09:03 »
« Last Edit on: 08-18-2008 09:03 »

Good update.  Not great.  I give it a B+.  It would have gotten an A+ if:

a) Leela had beat Walt to a barely identifiable bloody pulp.

b) More topless women on motorcycles.

c) Leela, somewhere in her anger-filled mind, would have to admit that Fry did a pretty good job of saving her, Amy and Bender from a life of forced servitude to MOMCORP.

Naw, it's a great update.  Granted, I do hope that instead of attending one of her therapy sessions, Leela does find Walt and stomps a mudhole in his ass, then walks it dry...

El-Man has even made a pic for this occasion...


Space Pope
« Reply #164 on: 08-18-2008 12:28 »

Hmm, the main thing that tore my mind asunder was that you enlighten us that Leela's been in psychotherapy. Really? But I thought she likes to "keep [her] sadness pent up inside where it can fester quietly as a mental illness".  :p
Also, Amy is bereft of much intimidation-factor, even as a cyborg.

Again, though, it's reminding me of books and stuff; this time mainly some of the old horror books I used to read when I was like 12 and 13. Yeah, I was wondering when Chelsea was going to show up too. You excel at character interaction; the interplay between everyone is well-done.

And did you mean to not answer about where you moved to, or did you just overlook it? - I only asked because I was sure you had mentioned it somewhere before, but I forgot.    :hmpf:

Space Pope
« Reply #165 on: 08-18-2008 12:52 »

I hate to speculate without warrant, but is the cyborg tech a more primitive version of what Momcorp was using on Leela and co before? It'd be kind of interesting if it is - not to mention annoying for Amy...

Urban Legend
« Reply #166 on: 08-18-2008 14:56 »

@sine wave: Three golden tape measures?  I wonder if I can melt them down to pay for tuition...  I'm going to have to go back and get rid of that flashback.  I had no idea it would cause so much pain and discontent.

a) this is not the last we see of Walt.  Don't worry, his ass will be kicked most satisfactorally.  Yes, I just made that word up.

b) again, the story isn't over  :D

c) I only posted the first half of the most recent chapter.  Leela has a couple emotional revelations coming up.

@km73: who knows, maybe the therapist was also a good looking guy?  Oh, and I moved to Albuquerque.  I overlooked the fact that you asked.  It's hot and dry here, but they have the best Mexican food of all time.

@Archonix: I dont think the two technologies are related.  According to the history that I'm making up right now, all of the cyborg technology was immediately destroyed once they were beaten.

oh carp, I almost forgot I'm supposed to be running across campus to go give a speech.

Bending Unit
« Reply #167 on: 08-18-2008 18:37 »

Great stuff, SO. And keep that flashback right where is; the way it breaks up the flow is refreshing, and it's neat to see how things catch up to it so quickly.

Another great section. I echo other posters - I was kinda wondering what you'd done with our resident robot superwoman; nice to see she's made such a cool entrance. Pity she let Amy go first.  ;)

Urban Legend
« Reply #168 on: 08-18-2008 20:44 »

part 4
chapter 5:
_____________________________ ___________________

Another laugh.  When Chelsea answered, her voice belied none of the seriousness of the occasion.  “Oh, come on Fry.  You didn’t really think that you’d gotten rid of me that easily, did you?”  When Fry’s eyes darted in Amy’s direction, Chelsea smiled.  “Don’t worry,” She assured “Amy is just fine.  She’s just, ah, been introduced to a new way of looking at things.  And, you have to admit, the metal-and-wire look suits her a lot better than that tacky pink sweatsuit.”

“Let her go right now!” Fry’s voice trembled a little.

“It’s not that easy.” Chelsea said.  Leela was getting seriously weirded out by the, well, pleasant was the only word for the way Chelsea was acting.  There was no sign of a threat in her voice; she was talking to Fry as if they were two good friends having a quiet dinner conversation.  Either she was purposely trying to throw Fry off balance, which was pretty much a waste of energy since Fry was off-balance just by nature, or she was a complete psychopath.  Leela really hoped it wasn’t option two; she wasn’t in the mood to deal with a cyborg ex-girlfriend of Fry’s after her at the moment.  An army of metal-clad zombies was bad enough.

“I didn’t know who Amy was when my soldiers brought her in.  She didn’t tell me until after I’d assimilated her.  Chelsea paused, and when she spoke again her voice was tinged with what sounded like actual regret.  “If she’d just told me her name instead of cursing at me in Cantonese and telling me that my hair has split ends-“

“It was really noticeable.” Locuteus interrupted, much to Leela’s relief.  Amy’s still in there somewhere.

“Damnit, I don’t have split ends!”  Chelsea muttered something under her breath in a foreign language.  “Anyway, I wouldn’t have put her through all that.  Now that it’s done though, I can’t just undo it.  When there’s time, I’ll put her back to the way she was.  That’ll have to wait until I finish conquering the Earth though.”  The last statement was made as if she was discussing cleaning up a spilled can of Slurm.

“W-what?!” Fry stammered. The only part of the redhead that Leela could see from inside the pipe was the backs of his shins, but she had no trouble picturing how his face would look as he realized what she had figured out several hours ago.  The army of gauss rifle-wielding zombies was made up of drones assimilated from residents of the city.  Obviously this crazy ex-girlfriend of Fry’s had decided to carry through on her plans to ‘improve’ the human race.  And be installed as its ruler, of course.  He sure can pick ‘em, can’t he?  I just knew he couldn’t handle being by himself… 

“Don’t look so surprised, Fry.” Chelsea was saying, the first trace of puzzlement in her voice.  You already knew I was capable of this, remember?  I’ve already tried it, after all.”

Fry tried to speak, but Chelsea cut him off.   “No, don’t bother.  I know you feel bad about leaving me behind on that spaceship in the middle of nowhere, and you think that this is somehow my way of getting back at you, that I hate you and want to get even.  But I can’t hate you for what you did.  You are who you are; you can’t help it.”  There was a brief pause.  “Just like my mother couldn’t help turning my father over to the government when she discovered what he was doing.”

“Chelsea, I-” Fry started.

“No, no, let me finish.” Chelsea interrupted gently.  Leela couldn’t see her from her vantage point, and she was having trouble picturing her in her mind’s eye. This calm, almost conversational voice that she was hearing just did not fit with the army of zombified warriors that were taking over the city.  “When I finally did get back to New York, or, I guess I should say, New New York, I immediately went into the ruins of the old city and tracked down the gear that I’d buried in a concrete bunker for when I was unfrozen.  Inside was everything I needed to begin manufacturing a new army of drones.  That was my original plan, you see.  To build an army and take over the future.  All I had to do was put on a show of being vulnerable and disoriented when I came out of the freezer tube so that no one suspected me, and then strike the moment that anyone who was paying attention decided I was harmless.  I just hadn’t counted on one thing.”  Another pause.  “You.”

“Me?” Fry parroted.

“Yes, you.  My own experience as a child, and my father’s research, taught me that humans are imperfect.  We are overly emotional, stubborn, illogical, self-delusional, and too self-absorbed to work for the greater good.  I learned to look down at pure humans for their glaring flaws, but then I met someone that turned those long-held beliefs on their heads.  When I came out of that freezer tube, you were kind to me in a way that no one has ever been, and, as I got to know you, I realized that, in you, all of humanity’s flaws are strengths.  Your emotion, stubborn insistence in seeing the best in people, and innate illogic make you a far better human than me, and no amount of internal circuitry that I add to my body and mind is going to change that.”

Fry seemed to digest that for a moment.  Leela waited impatiently for him to ask the obvious question.  For a moment she considered revealing herself and challenging this bizarre woman from the stupid ages, but she quickly decided against it.  The few seconds of surprise she might earn by appearing at the right moment with plasma gun blasting away might give them a chance to escape.

“So, if you decided that people aren’t as bad as you thought, then why are you trying to take over the Earth still?”  Fry finally asked.

“Well, see, that’s the thing.”  Chelsea replied a bit sadly.  “I realized that my old beliefs were not quite correct.   The flaws that I thought needed fixing turned out to be strengths, but there was another flaw present that I had no way to know about back then.  You see, there weren’t any aliens around in the good old year 2012.”


“So,” Chelsea said with a good deal of sarcasm, “there was no way for me to know that humans would naturally intermingle with inferior life forms like aliens.  It was more than I could take to see those hideous things walking around the streets of the city, as if they had any more right to it than sewer rats.  Then, when you were so dismayed by what I did to those… creatures back on the Planet Express Ship, I realized that something had to be done.  People can’t be allowed to believe that aliens can coexist with us.  It’s dangerous, and unhealthy! Aliens will influence us.  They degrade us by their very existence.”

By this point Leela was just about ready to jump out of her hiding place and rip Chelsea apart with her bare hands, but she forcibly restrained herself. 

“But why the army of cyborgs?” Fry was asking. 

“Well, I mean, there was no way I was going to just suddenly convince people to wipe out all alien life in the universe.  They have to be… persuaded.”  It was said as if it were the most reasonable thing in the world.

“What?!” Fry gasped.  “Wipe out all alien life? Y- you can’t do that!  Chelsea, aliens are people too!  They’re no different from you, or me, or the sewer mutants!”

“Sewer mutants?”  Chelsea sounded genuinely surprised.  “Really?  Huh.  Thank you for mentioning them.  They will have to go too, of course.”  There were some muffled voices that Leela couldn’t hear.  Ostensibly Chelsea was giving orders to someone to look into the truth of what Fry had just accidentally revealed.  And once again Fry’s big mouth leads to the demise of an entire people.  Leela thought.  Then, for some strange reason, she felt a stab of fear at the idea of what Chelsea would do to the peaceful community of genetic aberrations.  Weird.  Why do I care so much about a bunch of inferior genetic scum?  It took her almost a full second to realize what her own mind had just said to her.  Oh my god.  Did I really just think that?  She wondered, amazed at herself.  I’m no better than she is! Feeling simultaneously sick and horribly unclean, Leela realized that she was going to have to seriously rethink her beliefs when this was all over.  Her emotional to-do list was starting to spill over

“Speaking of having to go,” Chelsea said, “I can’t have you wandering around through the middle of the city while I’m busily taking it over.  It’s dark and dangerous in here now that I’ve turned all of the electronics off.  Someone’s liable to shoot you by mistake.  It’s a good thing my friend Locuteus here filled me in on your situation.  Imagine it, all that time I was working at Momcorp, and Leela and the rest of your friends were right there in the building, and neither of us had any idea.”  She chuckled.  “I figured that I’d better get you cornered before you got yourself killed.”

“So then you’re not going to kill us?” There was a tinge of hope in Fry’s voice.  Leela cringed at his use of the word ‘us’.  Apparently it wasn’t blatantly obvious that she wanted to remain undetected.  Luckily, Chelsea didn’t seem to catch on.

“What? No!”  From Chelsea’s voice it seemed as though she was genuinely surprised, and a little hurt.  “You really thought I was going to kill you?  Didn’t you listen to what I said before, back when we were in the airlock?  You’re the only friend I have in the whole future, maybe the only one I’ve had in my entire life!  You were kind and understanding, and wanted nothing in return.  I would never hurt you.” Amazingly, there was enough emotion in Chelsea’s words that Leela believed that she was telling the truth.  “You did abandon me in interstellar space,”  Chelsea added, “But you did it out of fear.    I lied to you about who I was, and you couldn’t handle it.  I was wrong to put you in that situation; I don’t blame you for it.”

“Then you’ll let us go?” 

Chelsea sighed.  “Yes, I’ll let you go.  What I really want is for you to understand, but I guess that is something I can’t reasonably expect...  I’ll have you escorted to the edge of the city; the DOOP can pick you up from there.  As for the robot and Amy here, I’ll have Bender meet you at the edge of the city when I see him again.  When I realized who he was I told him to stick around and wait, and I’d let him go with you.  He wouldn’t listen though.  Said there was too much looting to be done.  I’ll have Amy fixed up good as new in a couple of weeks.  I should have taken over the planet by then, assuming the general that’s leading the DOOP forces is as big an idiot as his tactics so far seem to suggest.” There was a pause.  “But when you said ‘us’, you weren’t referring to them, were you?”  She chuckled.  “Ah, I get it.”  Her voice got a little louder.  “I was wondering where you were.  I have to say, I’m impressed.  Now I see why Fry looks up to you so much.  You can come on out now, Leela.”

Her cover blown, Leela didn’t have much choice but to crawl her way out of the sewer pipe.  Very, very slowly, she stood, palms outward, and moved to stand to Fry’s right.  Her plasma rifle lay at her feet, partially hidden by an I-beam,.  Hopefully it had gone unnoticed.

“It’s nice to finally meet you.” Chelsea was saying.  “I’ve heard so much about y-“  The Asian woman’s voice cut off like a switch.  “What in god’s name is that?”  It was a growl.

“What?” Fry asked, in his characteristically stupid way.  Of course Chelsea was referring to Leela’s eye.  The giant white orb that had caused her nothing but trouble since as far back as she could remember.

“Y- you’re an alien, a subhuman!” Chelsea gasped.  “Fry, how could you not tell me she was this… thing?!”

Fry was visibly confused.  He kept looking back and forth between the two women. “What do you mean?  What’s wrong with her?!”  He sounded panicked, as if Chelsea could see some giant, malignant tumor on her that he himself could not.

“She’s got one eye!” Chelsea raged.  “You never once mentioned she had one eye!”

 “I- I didn’t think it was important.”  He said, still confused. 

Leela almost cried.  I didn’t think it was important.  Those six words were the most beautiful thing that anyone had ever said about her.  She felt a wave of affection for her old friend at that moment.  She would have hugged him, if not for the army of evil cyborgs standing around waiting to kill them.  Suddenly all of his immaturity, his thoughtlessness and propensity for getting them both in trouble seemed utterly trivial.  How could I have been so awful to him? She wondered.

“She’s got elbow talons too.” Locuteus interjected helpfully, but Chelsea didn’t hear her.  “Not important?!  You had me risk my life searching all over the goddamned galaxy for this creature, had me competing for your affections with the memories that you had of her, and you didn’t think it might matter to me, just a tiny bit, that she wasn’t even human?!”

Fry thought about it.  “No.” He said simply.  “I didn’t.”

Chelsea’s eyes blazed.  Leela shifted her weight slightly.  She would be prepared for what was coming next.  “You idiot.  You pathetic little idiot.”  A gauss rifle appeared in her hands.  “You’ll die for this.” She shouted.  “I’ll kill you.  You and that animal bitch.”  She leveled the weapon at Leela’s face.  “I’ll burn that eyeball right out of her ugly little alien head.” 

“No!” Fry hurled himself at Leela, trying to put his body between the weapon and its target.  He was several seconds too early, and so all he managed to do was end up lying face down in the dirt. Fortunately, Leela was no longer there when Chelsea finally did pull the trigger.  By the time Fry managed to get to his feet, his former captain was already vaulting over the shovel of a parked backhoe, trying to draw fire long enough for Fry to get away.

Bending Unit
« Reply #169 on: 08-19-2008 02:33 »


I like this part.  All threads tie together, and Chelsea is one of the better OC's I've read.

And it's "New Mexican" food.  Not "Mexican" food.  You'll learn, grasshopper.  To start, when someone asks you "red or green?" start with green, then move up to "Christmas".

Bending Unit
« Reply #170 on: 08-19-2008 03:47 »

Poor Chelsea, the only man who has been really nice to her is a mutant/alien lover. What's a derange girl to do?  :p

That was the "thing" that Fry forgot to tell Chelsea btw?

I understand the obvious Star Trek Borg references but the Cyborg Army reminds me more of the Cybermen from Doctor Who.

Assimilated Amy, "Locuteus" cracks me up;

"She’s got elbow talons too."
"...telling me that my hair has split ends-"
That's Amy alright.

My favorite part was this;

"I- I didn’t think it was important." He said, still confused.

Leela almost cried. I didn’t think it was important. Those six words were the most beautiful thing that anyone had ever said about her.


Urban Legend
« Reply #171 on: 08-19-2008 07:42 »
« Last Edit on: 08-19-2008 07:42 »

And it's "New Mexican" food. 

only if they serve it right away.  Otherwise its "Old Mexican" food.  :D  And I can handle the heat.  I grew up in San Diego.

What's a derange girl to do?

Why, take over the world of course!

I don't know about any cybermen from Dr Who.  I've maybe watched maybe two episodes of that series.  I've just never been able to get into it, for some reason.  Oh, and when I said that Fry forgot to mention something important to Chelsea, I was referring to the fact that Leela has one eye.  Sorry if that was confusing.
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #172 on: 08-19-2008 07:45 »


Dang, you are making hell of updates on this. I second the motion that the Leela's-an-alien scene is wonderfully done, and probably one of the best 'shippy scenes in all ficdom (ironic, considering this started as an anti-ship). And I guess now we get to see Fry and Leela run from a cyborg army (well, more like platoon, I guess) that's actually trying to kill them now, and then somehow defeat them before they take over the Earth and go on an alien killing spree.

So, anyone for a game of Cricket?

Space Pope
« Reply #173 on: 08-19-2008 08:41 »

I'd prefer tennis...
I'll third that motion.. or should it be, emotion - Yeah. Very, very nice. Effective way of displaying the essence of their relationship. I found it interesting that Chelsea was so willing to spare not only Fry, but also the others - until of course she found out about Leela. Ironic that even had Leela known she was a mutant, she would've still been marked for trouble; whether alien or mutant 'scum', neither exactly elicits any tolerance from Chelsea.

Bending Unit
« Reply #174 on: 08-19-2008 09:08 »

Originally posted by soylentOrange:
Oh, and when I said that Fry forgot to mention something important to Chelsea, I was referring to the fact that Leela has one eye.  Sorry if that was confusing.

No, that wasn't confusing at all... I just wanted to know if I got it right.  :p


Urban Legend
« Reply #175 on: 08-24-2008 04:52 »
« Last Edit on: 08-24-2008 04:58 »

Well I dont get it, but PEEL2 doesn't seem to like my PC.  It treats my laptop fine, but I can't seem to post anything if I use my desktop. 

Anyway, here's a little one shot story that I wrote this afternoon.  I guess I was feeling particularly shippy or something.  Enjoy!
_____________________________ _____________________________ _______

The Rose

It was raining; Fry didn’t care.  He stood in the middle of the sidewalk and let the water wash over him as he stared at the rose that he held cradled in his right hand.  The little flower seemed to shiver as the frigid rain pelted it and dripped down to the cracked pavement. 

Fry let the rose fall.  It tumbled, sending droplets of water spraying out from between its velvety red petals.  When it struck the ground it seemed to crumple.  Fry turned away.

Night had fallen early on the streets of New New York that evening.  Heavy, water laden clouds blanketed the sky, their underbellies dimly reflecting the pale orange glow of the city’s streetlights.  Fry began to walk away from the pool of light that escaped from a nearby doorway.   The doorway that he’d just seen Leela emerge from, her arm linked with that of another. 

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

It was raining; Leela didn’t care.  Dex was finally taking her out.  The rain was pleasant on her face, a welcome coolness that ran down her cheeks and dripped off of her nose.  Her makeup would probably run, but she would fix that at the restaurant.

Up ahead was Dex’s car.  Its sleek shape gleamed in the semidarkness.  Leela smiled as the handsome figure that accompanied her opened the passenger door and helped her inside.  Dex was all that she could have hoped: tall, good looking, confident…  And he made her feel so normal.

As the car rose gently into the air and banked into a tight u-turn, Leela watched the rain-swept city begin to pass by underneath.  Gradually she realized that Dex was looking at her out of the corner of his eye.  Leela turned to him and smiled.

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

The sidewalk outside the apartment building was deserted.  Inside, the hallways mournfully echoed Fry’s footsteps as he traced his way to his front door.  The keys in his pocket jingled loudly, as if to remind him that he was the only one there to hear them.  Once again he was alone.  How could I have been so stupid?

His apartment was dark and empty.  Tired and dejected, Fry sat down on the end of his bed.  His clothes were soaked.  Suddenly angry, Fry tore off his jacket and hurled it across the room.  With a soft squishing sound it hit the wall and slid to the ground.  One of the two tickets that had been tucked away in one of the pockets fluttered out and landed close by.  He’d spent all his money on those tickets. 

Cold, frustrated, and excruciatingly lonely, Fry let himself collapse into the soft embrace of his stained mattress.  The springs groaned sadly under the weight, and then the only sound was the patter of the rain as it hit his darkened window.  Fry began to cry.

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

The sidewalk outside the apartment building was deserted.  Her makeup was running again, not just from the rain this time, but also from the tears.  How could I have been so stupid? 

Leela shivered as a light breeze stirred.  Her clothes, her hair, every part of her was thoroughly sodden.  It had been a long walk home.  Miserably, she pulled her jacket tighter around her body as she approached her building’s front door.  As she reached out to twist the doorknob, something caught her eye.  A single rose, battered and wilted, lay abandoned on the sidewalk.

Curious, Leela bent down and picked up the flower.  With care she brought it up to her face.  She turned it with her fingers and stared thoughtfully at it while the quickening breeze played with the fringes of her hair.  A long moment later, Leela tucked the little flower into her jacket and turned away from the light that streamed from the nearby doorway.  Looking up, she could see a few stars twinkling through the dissipating clouds.  Smiling, she began to walk briskly away in the direction of Robot Arms, and Fry.

Bending Unit
« Reply #176 on: 08-24-2008 08:49 »

Sweeeet... that was awesome.

I like how you started each part the same for Fry and Leela the same way, yet for different reasons. Very nice.  :love:

Space Pope
« Reply #177 on: 08-24-2008 15:13 »

Let me guess, another jackass.

Things I liked:

- In accordance with Corvus; nice leitmotif with the repetitions of several phrases, showing their parallel experiences.

- The description. All of it, but especially a line like "The little flower seemed to shiver as the frigid rain pelted it and dripped down to the cracked pavement."

- The subtle ending.

I must say, I'd kind of like to know what "Dex" did to her; but nevertheless, mightily good for a quick toss-off.

Urban Legend
« Reply #178 on: 08-27-2008 20:49 »

Those six words
It's seven!  He said 'I' twice :p

But seriously, I liked that part, it's a perfect example of how to write ship lightly and properly in the Futurama universe.  So cheers to that, and looking forward to the next installment.

Bending Unit
« Reply #179 on: 08-28-2008 22:12 »

Nice experimental change of pace.  I do believe this is your first story without explosions  :laff:
A little sugary, but that's what shippers thrive on!
I've got what you sent me, I'll get back to you...

Urban Legend
« Reply #180 on: 08-30-2008 18:03 »
« Last Edit on: 08-30-2008 18:05 »

@Corvus: thanks! 

@km73: Originally I was going to add a scene in which we find out what Dex did exactly, but I ended up deciding that the story was supposed to be just about Fry and Leela.  I'm thinking about going back and rewriting part of the story so that we don't even learn Dex's name to kinda emphasise that he's just some anonymous goon; he doesn't matter. 

@JBERGES: apparently Leela didn't think the first stuttery "I" was as beautiful as the other six words. :D  I'm glad you liked this part.  It took fracking ages to write.

@JN: Why thank you, I appre- Wait.  No explosions?  That can't be right.  *reads through The Rose*  Oh.  Oh, well this obviously isn't acceptable.  Excuse me while I go add some wanton violence... 

_____________________________ ______

It was raining nitroglycerine; Fry didn’t care because he was being chased by a crazy alien or something.  He stood in the middle of the burning sidewalk and let the water nitroglycerine wash over him as he stared at the rose missile launcher that he held cradled in his right hand.

_____________________________ ____

Whew.  Is that better?

Bending Unit
« Reply #181 on: 08-31-2008 01:03 »
« Last Edit on: 08-31-2008 01:05 »

Wow. That was one hell of a one-shot, SO. Isn't it nice to know that you can come up with something as impressive as that without banging your head against the wall for hours on end? :D   Great stuff, from start to finish. With this and Disillusionment, you're really cooking with gas!

And that new version of that paragraph - why not put that in the special features section at the end. You know, outtakes and such. I'd read it. (Hell, I already have!) :D

nevertheless, mightily good for a quick toss-off.

I take it you're not from England - 'cause that phrase means something slightly different there, if you get my drift. ;)

Goodnight folks!

Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #182 on: 08-31-2008 01:32 »
« Last Edit on: 08-31-2008 02:15 »

She want that lovey-dovey (lovey dovey)
Kiss-kiss (kiss-kiss)

So after the light ship sprinkling in Disillusionment, you come love-guns a-blazin'. You won't find me complaining; it's as well done as your other stuff, just the right mix of everything for what you're doing.

Space Pope
« Reply #183 on: 08-31-2008 01:38 »

And what song is that from?

I take it you're not from England - 'cause that phrase means something slightly different there, if you get my drift.

Learn something every day...

Also, "because he was being chased by a crazy alien or something" sounds like something right out of the Scary Door.  Several golden tape measures.

Urban Legend
« Reply #184 on: 08-31-2008 05:58 »
« Last Edit on: 09-01-2008 00:39 »

@THM: Wait, you mean banging your head into the wall isn't a good source of inspiration?  But that's how I get all my idead!

@Sine Wave: I seem to remember saying initially that Disillusionment was going to be antishippy and getting all kinds of skepticism from you guys.  Well, looks like you were right :D.

@km73: Indeed, you learn something new every day.  And when the lesson comes from PEEL, generally its something that you wish you'd remained ignorant about. 

Anyhow, Disillusionment only has two updates left, and one of them should be up here pretty soon.  My next fic is going to be called Green Storm Rising, and will involve sewer mutants, an alternate timeline (within the same universe), and, of course, chase scenes where everything manages to explode somehow.  Here's the first few pages:
_____________________________ _____________________________ _______

Green Storm Rising

Prologue: Somewhere in Deep Space
_____________________________ _____

“What do you think it is?”

“It’s just space junk, Fry.  Look at it; it’s probably been abandoned here for centuries.  Can we please go now?  The weekend officially started two hours ago.”

“No, not yet!”  Fry plastered his face against the glass of the forward viewport and stared bright eyed at the hulking shape that lay beyond.  Brimming with excitement, he spun to face his Captain.  “Hey, you know what would be awesome?  Let’s go explore it!”

Leela groaned inwardly.  Fry’s limitless enthusiasm for anything new that he found in the future usually ran the gambit from adorable to mildly annoying.  But this was the third time in a month he’d made her stop the ship so he could watch some rusted out piece of garbage float by.  She’d made the mistake of indulging his childish desire to board the first two abandoned ‘ships’- the first one was obviously an old tool shed that had probably drifted loose from someone’s property, and the second was a decrepit space portajohn, but she hadn’t felt mean enough to tell Fry that. 

Bender rolled his eyes.  “Come on, meatbag.  What’s with this obsession of yours with garbage we find on the side of the road, anyway?”

“It’s not garbage!” Fry insisted, pointing.  “Look at it!  It could be a spaceship holding the last survivors of some super race of aliens in stasis, or some kind of doomsday laser that’s all like kapow, zap! And all the planets are like, whaaagh!  Garhgh!  Or, or maybe it’s a ghost ship cuz the whole crew went nuts and-”

 “Alright, alright!”  Leela said, throwing up her hands in defeat.  It had been a long, painful delivery.  The cyclops wanted only one thing at that moment- to get home, take a long shower, and have a series of very strong drinks while she lay plastered in front of the TV, but she was still a few hours’ flight from Earth.  The last thing she wanted to deal with was an over-stimulated delivery boy babbling on and on the whole way home about what might have been contained in the pile of scrap metal that hung to port.  In the long run, it would be less painful to let Fry poke his head around for a few minutes, get bored, and come back to the ship.  “We’ll go check it out.” When Fry broke into a huge grin, Leela held up a hand, palm out, in the hopes of dampening his enthusiasm before it got out of control.  “For ten minutes.  Then we’re leaving.  Okay?”

 Fry let out a whoop and grabbed Bender by the arm.  “Come on Bender, let’s go!”  The robot reluctantly let himself be dragged from the bridge, but only after shooting Leela an annoyed look for giving in to the redhead.  The cyclops could only shrug apologetically.

When Fry and Bender were gone, Leela went back and let herself drop into the Captain’s chair.  For a moment she leaned over the wheel and rubbed her temples, idly wishing that she had Fry’s seemingly limitless supply of energy.  Then she pressed the button for the intercom and patched herself through to Amy’s quarters. 

“Amy, are you awake?” Leela asked tentatively.  She really didn’t want to wake the intern, but neither did she want to leave Amy alone on the ship without telling her first.

“Hi, Leela!  What’s up?” 

Leela was relieved to find no hint in Amy’s voice that she’d been asleep.  “Nothing big.  We drove by some old space wreck- a big one this time- and Fry and Bender are going to go explore.  I just thought I should tell you I’m going along too, to make sure they don’t do anything stupid.”

To the PE Captain’s surprise, Amy’s voice took on a hint of excitement.  “Oh clool, I love stuff like that!  Can I come too?”

“Sure, why not.  Can you be ready in five minutes?”
_____________________________ _____________________________ _______________________

The wreck was a black smudge against the soft greens and reds of the nebula in which it sat.  Whatever the thing was, it was deceptively large.  That’s the problem with space Leela mused.  There’s no way for the eye to judge distances.  Not that her eye was any good at that anyway.  As the PE Ship approached, details started to appear on the pitted metal surface.  Basically, the object was a series of tetrahedrons stacked on top of each other, with a few long, cylindrical protrusions sticking out in a seemingly random fashion.  The whole structure was maybe a hundred meters long and half as wide and deep.  Hundreds of circular windows dotted the surface.  Leela made her way to the single, rectangular hole at the far end of the thing, which had looked like an entry point.  As she worked for a moment to match her velocity to the structure’s lazy spin the ship’s headlights came to bear on the hole and illuminated a space just large enough to accommodate the ship.

Surprisingly, the hulk still had some artificial gravity.  It was closer to lunar gravity than Earth gravity, but something was better than nothing- especially since tethering the ship in microgravity was a pain in the ass. 

Donning their space suits, the PE Crew disembarked and congregated under the Planet Express Ship’s bow.  The flashlights mounted on their helmets cast little pools of light here and there as the crew looked around the small hangar that contained the ship.  There wasn’t much to see aside for a few micrometeorite holes in the bulkheads and a bit of wire that hung from the ceiling. 

Fry spotted a hatch and wandered over to it with the rest of the group following somewhat reluctantly.  The abandoned hulk was decidedly spook, which Fry would realize when his excitement wore off.  Leela had just managed to catch up to the delivery boy when he turned a handle and hauled the hatch open.  Bits of dust and corroded metal rained to the floor.  The crew was standing at the entrance to some kind of long hallway.  The combined light of the crew’s flashlights revealed a series of evenly spaced, closed doors that ran the entire length of the corridor.  Fry made an excited noise and headed for the nearest doorway, but Leela caught his arm.

“Remember what we agreed on, Fry.  Ten minutes.  Then we’re going home.”

The delivery boy began to protest, but knew from his Captain’s tone that she wasn’t going to compromise with him.  “Alright.  Ten minutes.”  Leela let go of him. 

The first few rooms didn’t contain anything interesting.  There were a couple of abandoned desks, what looked like a smashed desk lamp, a bed with sheets that crumbled to dust the moment that Amy touched them…  Leela found herself bored almost immediately. 

After a few minutes the rest of the crew seemed to have forgotten the initial creepy feeling that the abandoned hulk had given them, and Bender and Amy started to peek into some of the compartments.  Leela just stood in the corridor leaning against a bulkhead.  This is stupid.  I’m going to miss The Simpsons’ 1,019th season premiere.  She looked at her watch.  Twelve minutes had passed.

“Okay, time’s up.  Come on Fry, let’s get back to-”

“Whoa, what is this?” Fry had just opened another door.  Bender and Amy poked their heads out of a nearby compartment.  “Does it look valuable?” Bender asked eagerly.

“I dunno.  Come check it out!”  To Leela’s infinite annoyance, Bender and Amy walked over to Fry and the three of them disappeared into the room.  A second later a burst of excited chatter crackled over Leela’s radio.  Sighing dramatically but curious despite herself, Leela stood and strolled toward the open hatch.  On the other side was a large open space filled with computer consoles.  Rack upon rack of electronics lined three of the walls; the fourth wall consisted of a single large viewport.  In the center of the room was a low pedestal on which some giant device of inscrutable purpose was perched.  The object consisted of a clear cylinder about five feet in diameter and twice that tall sitting on its end.  The cylinder was at the center of half a dozen hovering metallic rings that spun around in alternating directions.   Although the computers that lined the room were dark and still, the device in the middle of the room glowed a soft blue-white.  Leela’s coworkers were clustered around the machine.

“What do you think it is?” Amy asked no one in particular.

“I dunno.” Fry replied.  “What do you think, Bender?”

Bender’s eyes zoomed in on the device.  “It looks like easy cash to me.” He said after inspecting it.  “Let’s take it with us.  We can say it’s some crazy alien artifact or something and sell it to the highest bidder.” 

Leela interrupted before the conversation could reach critical stupidity.  “We are not taking that thing with us.”  She declared.  “We don’t have any idea what it does.  Now let’s get the hell out of here before we end up exposed to some kind of deadly radiation… or something.”  She turned and started to make her way to the exit. 

And then Bender said the seven words that Leela feared more than anything else in the universe.  “Hey, I wonder what this button does?”

Leela whirled to find the robot hunched over the pedestal.  His hand was perched a few centimeters over a very large red button. 

“Bender, no!”

But it was too late.   A rumble started to build in the deck.  To Leela’s horror, the compartment hatch slid closed.  When the PE Captain tried to force it open again it didn’t even budge.  In the center of the room, the mystery device began to glow brighter.  The rings that surrounded it began to spin faster and oscillate slightly up and down.  Soon the light was so strong that it hurt Leela’s eye.  She had to turn away.  The rumbling in the deck began to mount, and it became impossible to stand. 

“What’s going on?!” Fry was screaming somewhere to Leela’s left.  The cyclops tried to crawl to him, but couldn’t find him in the intense blue glare.  Somehow she ended up on the far side of the device, by the viewport.  Amy was there too.  The two women grabbed ahold of each other for support against the shaking.

“What are we gonna do?!” Amy screamed over the radio, her helmet touching her Captain’s. 

“I don’t know!” Leela hollered back, and the light grew even brighter.

Fry materialized out of the glare and propped his body against Leela’s.  On impulse the PE Captain reached out and grabbed ahold of Fry’s hand and then Amy’s.  As the shaking of the deck grew to impossible levels, the three humans huddled together.  Leela shut her eye against the blue light that seemed to be coming from all around her.  Everything seemed to retreat to a great distance.

Pop.   Leela felt the sound more than she heard it.  Suddenly the intense glare of the machine was gone and the deck was motionless.  For a long moment, Fry, Leela and Amy didn’t move, but it was like the craziness of a few seconds earlier had never happened. 

Leela cautiously got to her feet and Fry and Amy followed suit.  Bender was standing nearby, seemingly unfazed.  In the center of the room, the device was emitting irregular pulses of light that occasionally cast the robot in an odd blue.  Bender was staring out the viewport while idly smoking one of his cigars. 

Leela was livid.  “What in God’s name were you thinking?!” She demanded, grabbing Bender none-to-gently by the arm.  “You could have killed us, you insufferable jerk! “  Bender shrugged and continued to smoke.  “Are you even listening to-”  Leela fell silent.  Her eye had been drawn to the device, which was still emitting random bursts of light.  A network of cracks had developed on the surface of the clear cylinder.  As she watched, one of the cracks seemed to grow noticeably.  Okay, so that can’t be good.  Luckily the compartment hatch had opened the moment the room had stopped shaking.  Why it had locked them in the room in the first place was anybody’s guess. 

“Bender, remind me to yell at you later.  But for right now, let’s concentrate on getting out of here.  I don’t like what this thing is doing.”  Leela gestured to the device.  As if on cue there was a bright flash, and there were twice as many cracks as there had been a moment earlier.  The exit hatch closed halfway but stopped amid a shower of sparks.

Leela nodded.   “Yep, time to go.  Come on!”  Leela dashed for the exit with Amy and Fry a step behind her.  Bender, giving his retreating coworkers a disdainful look, tossed aside the remains of his cigar and sauntered after them. 

By the time Leela and her two human crewmates had made it back to the small hangar another tremor had started building in the deck.  It wasn’t constant this time, but came in intermittent bursts like the light streaming from the device had done.  Whatever it was that the device was supposed to do, it wasn’t doing it right this time.

Leela bounded up the flight of stairs that led into the ship and was in the pilot’s seat scant seconds later.  The whole ship was shaking around her.  Leela started up the engines and strapped herself into her chair.  Bender appeared in the hatchway outside the PE Ship’s front viewport.  Seemingly unaffected by the bursts of heavy shaking that were enough to drive Leela’s teeth together, the robot nonchalantly swaggered over to the ship.  As soon as Bender was aboard, Leela retracted the landing gear and threw the vessel into full reverse.  The shaking stopped abruptly the instant that the ship lifted off the deck.

When the ship was clear Leela threw it into a turn and pushed the throttle as far forward as it would go.  The engines screamed in protest as the Planet Express Ship hurled away into space.  Leela felt some kind of wrenching in her gut as a wave of blue reached outward from the disintegrating space hulk and swallowed the ship.  Reality flowed around the PE Captain like water in a stream while someone far away was screaming.  Maybe it was her… 
_____________________________ _____________________________ _____

I'm going to confuse the heck out of people by posting this, The Rose, and the end of Disillusionment all on the same page... 


Space Pope
« Reply #185 on: 08-31-2008 09:16 »

Damn right you are. Hm. But a good solid start nonetheless. :)

Bending Unit
« Reply #186 on: 08-31-2008 15:54 »

I agree; very interesting. Everyone was dead-on, and Leela's scariest seven words? With that crew, I'd say that apt, very apt, and very funny, too. Stellar stuff. It had me thinking a little of one or two episodes of 'Firefly', when they go looting salvaging stuff. :)

I wonder what'll happen next - reality rewrite? Very interesting, indeed.

Space Pope
« Reply #187 on: 08-31-2008 20:14 »

Anyhow, Disillusionment only has two updates left...


My next fic


soylent, you slay me. Still not even done with Disillusionment yet, and now you're already cranking out the next one. Your creative juices must be overripely.. bubbling... or something. I'm sad that the current one is almost over, but I'm so glad you did decide that you're going to do another one; I believe you said once that Disillusionment was probably going to be your last. I'll say it yet again, you are a good, good writer.
Never seen Firefly, but to me this conjures up vague traces of Red Dwarf, sort of; kind of reminiscent of something that might happen in that anyway. And it has high potential. I await to see what lies beyond this prologue.

Space Pope
« Reply #188 on: 08-31-2008 21:10 »

Oh I knew it was familiar! Firefly, yeah, the episode where they find that wreck hit by Reavers.
Sine Wave

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #189 on: 08-31-2008 21:36 »

I'm going to confuse the heck out of people by posting this, The Rose, and the end of Disillusionment all on the same page... 

Not to mention your pigment-based indecision with regards to the "next" fic.  ;)

Anywho, it's great so far. Looking forward to more!

Starship Captain
« Reply #190 on: 08-31-2008 23:13 »

Anyhow, Disillusionment only has two updates left


and one of them should be up here pretty soon. 


My next fic is going to be called Green Storm Rising,


and, of course, chase scenes where everything manages to explode somehow. 


Disillusionment has been great, cant wait to read the ending. Rose was an amazing short and the next fic looks most promising! Great work!

Urban Legend
« Reply #191 on: 09-01-2008 00:50 »

Wait, this was similiar to Firefly?  Thats kinda weird.  It wasn't intentional...

soylent, you slay me. Still not even done with Disillusionment yet, and now you're already cranking out the next one.
Oh, I'm done with Disillusionment.  I just didn't want to dump all of the work on JN and THM all at once.  I tried that with Spacecase once, and now she wont even come near this thread anymore :(

I think you guys will like the conclusion to DIsillusionment.  Its nice and shippy, and yet really sad at the same time.

Not to mention your pigment-based indecision with regards to the "next" fic
  Doh!  How did the word 'Red' creep into the title?  Don't worry, there won't be any Russian communists invading Western Europe in the story.  Wait, are the sewer mutants communists?  Nah.

Liquid Emperor
« Reply #192 on: 09-05-2008 19:55 »

Oh, I'm done with Disillusionment. I just didn't want to dump all of the work on JN and THM all at once. I tried that with Spacecase once, and now she wont even come near this thread anymore :(
I perceive you're trying to make a cause & effect relation out of this.

There is none.

The reason I disappeared was not because you 'dumped all the work on SpaceCase all at once'.
First, I wouldn't have noticed, and: Second, I loved beta-ing fics.
Some things happened in RL that put my head in a place ill-suited (to say the least) to produce anything remotely resembling useful comments.

Trust me my friend, IT AIN'T YOU!

Only now am I getting back to a place where I might be able to be a productive beta.
As you're so close to the end of 'Disillusionment', and I've missed so much of it, it's pointless for me to offer you my humble comments now.
And that seems to be all that's fit to post on a public message board.
I'll just ooze back out under the door now...

Urban Legend
« Reply #193 on: 09-06-2008 02:35 »

hi spacey.  Yes, I do know that there were other reasons, but I didn't think it my place to announce to the world that those other reasons existed.  I had thought that, in addition, I'd been dumping too much on you.  Glad that's not the case.  I didn't mean to infer that I thought I was the root cause of all of your troubles...  RL is a bitch. 

I've got Disilusionment pretty much wrapped up, like you said.  If, at some point down the road, you ever decide you want to start beta-ing though, I'd love to see your red pen back in action :)

Urban Legend
« Reply #194 on: 10-07-2008 06:29 »

One two updates to go after this one.  I'll put them up over the course of the next week or so.

Part 4
Chapter 6:
_____________________________ _______________________

Leela’s heart thumped heavily in her chest as she half ran, half stumbled down the middle of some anonymous downtown avenue.  Behind her she dragged what amounted to a one hundred seventy five pound dead weight on wobbly legs.  Fry had long since reached the limit of his endurance.  He’d tried to stop for breath at one point, and had nearly been blasted to mush for his trouble.  Now he barely managed to stay upright as Leela’s unrelenting grip on his arm forced him onward.

“Leela” He wheezed. “I- I can’t.”  A rack of dry coughs shook him before he could continue.  “I can’t breathe.”

“If you can talk, you can breathe.”  She was beginning to loose her patience.   If Fry had ever bothered to exercise, even just a little, he wouldn’t have these problems.  Besides, what was she going to do, let him collapse there on the sidewalk so that Chelsea could saunter up to him and rip him limb from limb at her leisure?  Not bloody likely.

“But Leela!” 

“Oh, for the love of- Alright, fine!”  With Fry slowing them down, they were losing the little bit of lead that they’d gained anyway.  Leela looked around her, but there wasn’t much to see.  Somehow they had ended up in an old warehouse district on the banks of the Hudson.  There was a hulking Momcorp storage facility of some kind to their left that they might be able to hide in long enough for Fry to get his second wind.  With a little luck, Chelsea and her goons might not even see them enter.  Shifting her hold on Fry’s arm, Leela turned and dragged him into the absolute blackness within.

Without any source of illumination beyond the meager bluish-green glow of the screen built into her wrist computer, it was almost impossible for them to find their way through the interior of the building. Leela tried to guess at her surroundings in case she needed to retrace her steps in a hurry, but all she could make out were vague impressions.  The front entrance had led them into a narrow corridor; of that much she was sure.  But, after what had probably been only thirty feet or so- it was even harder for her to judge distances than usual when it was dark- the hallway opened out into a room that was too large for the light from her wristcomp to reach the far walls or the ceiling.  It was clearly a storage room, as it was filled with piles of containers of varying sizes and shapes, which were organized into ‘islands’ that were scattered, seemingly randomly, across the floor.  Each container was adorned with the official Momcorp seal.  Leela had to settle for the first hiding place she came to- she wasn’t willing to risk getting turned around looking for better cover- which ended up being a sliver of empty space between one such island and the only wall she could see.  There they waited uncomfortably for about five minutes while Fry’s loud wheezing steadily faded away.  Leela couldn’t see her friend- she’d turned off her wristcomp to avoid being seen, of course- even though his face was close enough to hers that she could feel his breath on the back of her neck.  She found herself in an extremely uncomfortable position- not just physically, but emotionally as well.  At the same time that she was thoroughly annoyed and disgusted at Fry for once again dragging them back into trouble when they were just about to escape, she couldn’t help but respect and even admire his admittedly botched attempt to ‘take a bullet’ for her, as the outdated saying went.  And then there was what he had said back in the construction yard, six innocent words that had made it impossible to be angry with the redhead, damn him, no matter how much she wanted to be. 

There was a clunk, and then the hum of machinery somewhere above them, followed moments later by the tiniest sensation of moving air.  “What was that?” Fry hissed into Leela’s ear.

It took a moment for the sound to register.  It was familiar, something she’d heard a million times before but never really paid any close attention too…  “I think it’s the air conditioner.” Then the importance of having an electrical device turn itself on sank in.  “Aww, crap.”

Lights turned on all over the building.  Fry, who hadn’t been expecting it, instinctively jumped to his feet.  Leela was a little slower to stand.  Chelsea’s voice boomed through the storage room over a loudspeaker that was probably mounted on a wall, somewhere out of view.  “Ah, there we go.” The disembodied voice said cheerfully.  “These crazy computers you have in the future are hard to control; I can never figure out which function does what.  Oh, and Leela, for future reference, when you’re trying to hide from someone that controls every bit of electronics within a thirty mile radius, it probably isn’t a good idea to turn on a computer that’s attached to your arm, especially not one that’s equipped with GPS.”

Leela winced when she heard that last remark.  Well, she reasoned, I must have turned off the wristcomp before she could get an exact fix on us, or she’d have just come in here and wiped the floor with us.  She must be hoping to flush us out into in the open.  Good thing I fought the urge to play Tetris on this thing.

“By the way,” Chelsea continued conversationally, “if you were thinking about trying to escape, don’t bother.  I had Locuteus lock down all of the doors, and there’s an army of drones outside with orders to shoot anything that has a pulse.  Call me cliché, but I could never resist a good climactic, fate of the universe hangs in the balance type battle.  Since it doesn’t look like I’m going to find much of an adversary in the DOOP, the two of you will have to suffice.”  She chuckled.  “Now, to make everything fair, I’ve turned the lights on so that your unmodified eyes can see.  It’ll be the two of you versus Locuteus and me.  Whoever isn’t dead in the morning wins. Sound like a plan?”  Another laugh, this time with a bit of a gloat in it.  “I’ll give you a couple minutes to strategize.  Good luck!”  The loudspeaker died.

Fry was visibly trembling.  His eyes kept darting back and forth, as if Chelsea was just around the corner.  Of course, if she had been right around the corner, there wouldn’t have been much need for the loudspeaker, but Leela didn’t bother trying to explain that to him.  “What are we going to do?” The panic in his eyes was troubling. 

“The first thing we’re going to do is find a better hiding place.” Leela said with all of the fake confidence that she could muster.  “Here, take this.”  She handed him the small stunner that she’d been carrying at her waist since leaving Momcorp Headquarters.  It probably wouldn’t be of any use, but Fry didn’t know that.  It would act as a little reassurance, maybe enough to keep him from completely losing his nerve. 

Leela eventually found what she was looking for, a maintenance hatch built into the wall.  It served as access to the maze of ducts, pipes, and electrical conduits that snaked throughout the building.  Fry would have a good chance of remaining undetected in there.

When Fry was safely wedged out of sight behind an air duct, Leela turned to go.  She stopped when Fry called after her.  “Wait!  What’s going on?  Where are you going?”

“You’re staying here out of sight where you’ll be safe.  I’m going to go finish this.” Leela replied, and started to move again.   

“Leela, no!”

Leela whirled on him.  “What do you want me to do?” She demanded.  “This girlfriend of yours has tried to kill us half a dozen different ways in the past half hour, she’s turned Amy into a mindless zombie, and wants to take over the world and wipe out all alien life in the universe!”  The PE captain’s grip tightened on her plasma rifle as she thought about the three soldiers that had died because of what Chelsea was doing.  “She’s got to be stopped, Fry, and you know it.”

Deep down he did know it; she could see it in his eyes.  It was hardly fair for her to blame him for not being able to face that knowledge.  “But what about Amy?” He pleaded.

That was harder.  “I don’t know.  We’ll have to see.”  If it came to it, Leela wondered if she’d have the strength to do what needed to be done.  Hopefully it wouldn’t come to that.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

After putting some distance between herself and Fry’s hiding place, Leela settled on one of her own.  There was no reason to wander aimlessly through the building, waiting to stumble into somebody’s crosshairs.  If Chelsea wanted to play cat and mouse, Leela was willing to play along.  But when the cat eventually tracked her prey to its nest, she was liable to find that this particular mouse packed quite a bit of heat.

It didn’t take long for Chelsea to appear, as Leela had anticipated.  She’d purposely left a trail of moved boxes behind her, leading away from Fry’s hiding place.  When she thought of the ex-delivery boy squeezed into a dark space behind an air duct, she couldn’t help but feel bad.  There hadn’t been much of an alternative, though.  Fry was a great guy, but he didn’t stand a chance in hell in a serious firefight.  And Leela doubted he had it in him to shoot back at an ex-coworker, let alone an ex-girlfriend.  What was really surprising was that Fry hadn’t demanded to try and help regardless.

Whatever the case, it looked like Leela’s strategy of drawing Chelsea away from Fry was working.  From her vantage point high up in a colossal pile of two-meter metal cubes of indecipherable purpose, she could catch occasional glimpses of the woman’s jet black hair as she moved stealthily from island to island.  The plasma rifle that Leela carried with her wasn’t particularly accurate, but it didn’t really have to be.  The PE Captain was lying full out on the top of the box pile, her weapon cradled securely against her right shoulder.  All she had to do was wait for the unwitting cyborg to blunder into her sights and… She fired.  A ball of green plasma screamed across empty space and exploded into a ball of fire.  Flaming cardboard, bits of packing material, and other detritus rained down on Leela’s head as a stack of boxes collapsed.  There was just enough time for it to occur to her that shooting a ball of plasma in what amounted to a gigantic tinderbox might not have been such a good idea after all before the muzzle of a nasty looking weapon appeared from behind a ten foot, steel canister of dehydrated buggalo milk.  She’d missed Chelsea by about five feet.  Leela almost realized her mistake too late.  Sudden fear stabbing at her like a knife in her gut, she threw herself off of the towering metal conductor on which she was perched just a fraction of a second before Chelsea’s gauss rifle discharged.  Several thousand amps ripped into a metal box that had been a couple feet below Leela’s hiding place.  A web of bluish-white electricity fanned out from the point of impact, melting and fusing the containers together.  One of the tendrils of light snaked out and connected with Leela’s ankle, sending a jolt through her body.  The smell of ozone and singed hair reached her nostrils as she landed none-too-gently on an adjacent box pile.  Another gauss bolt snaked its way toward her.  She fired a few quick blasts in the general direction that the shot had come from, jumped the five or so feet to the ground, and took off running- thankful to still be in one piece.
_____________________________ _____________________________ _________

Back in the crawlspace, Fry found himself in a most unwelcome situation.  Amy, or Locuteus, or whatever he was supposed to be calling her now, was somewhere outside the closed hatch to his hiding spot.  He couldn’t see her, but he’d recognized the high-pitched scream followed by a crash that was her signature.  Apparently assimilation wasn’t a cure for clumsiness.

His mind raced as he tried to figure out what to do.  On the one had, Leela wanted him to stay put.  If I go out there, I’ll just get in Leela’s way. He reasoned.  And I don’t even know how to help anyway.  All I’ve got is this little stunner thing.  He fingered the weapon.  For some reason, the weight of it in his hand was immensely reassuring, even if he knew it was no match for the firepower he was up against. He kept his eyes on the tiny rim of radiance that leaked into the crawlspace from around the hatch.  But what good am I in here?   It’s two on one out there, and what if Leela gets injured or something?  A loud concussion from somewhere in the building seemed to underscore the possibility.

Fry had had a lot of time to think while the rest of his coworkers had slept back in their cell at Momcorp headquarters.  Lying there among his old friends had felt so right, even considering the circumstances of their imprisonment.  Even with Leela seemingly still angry at him, he’d felt almost instantly like he’d fallen back into his old life. It’s almost like I never left. He’d remarked to himself at one point.  And that’s when he’d finally realized his mistake.  For the last three months he had been trying to rebuild his life.  He’d been convinced that his friends had deserted him, that he’d destroyed the chance he’d been given to make something of himself after defrosting on New Year’s Eve two years earlier.  But here he was, surrounded by the people who had supposedly betrayed him, and they’d taken him back without hesitation, even after he’d abruptly cut them out of his life.  Even Leela, who Fry knew he’d hurt more than anyone, seemed willing to forgive him. And he knew, as he’d always known, that he belonged with them.  Somehow, despite their faults, their arguments and petty jealousies, he, Leela, and Bender, and to a lesser extent Amy, the Professor, and Hermes, had formed a type of family.  A dysfunctional family, but a family nonetheless.  Only by almost losing it forever had he even figured out that he’d had it in the first place, but now that he recognized it for what it was, he wasn’t about to have it snatched away from him again while he sat cowering in the dark. 

As silently as he could, Fry disentangled himself from the air duct and groped his way through the dark toward the hatch.  Amy’s probably still somewhere nearby.  He thought as he waved his hands in front of him to give him early warning of obstacles that he couldn’t see.  All I have to do is pop out, surprise her, shoot her with this thing, and then go- Clang! Fry’s head connected with a lead pipe that crossed the narrow service corridor precisely at the level of his forehead.  Stunned, he sank to a squatting position and held his head as tiny, multihued sparks exploded in his eyes. He didn’t have long to recover, for the sound of his clumsiness had not gone unnoticed.  A soft, muffled “Guh?” drifted to his ears from the other side of the service hatch.  Horrified, Fry backpedalled a short distance down the corridor until his back came up against something hard and metallic.  The hatch in front of him opened, bathing him in a pool of light that was almost blinding to his darkness-adjusted eyes.  Amy was a dark shadow in that pool of light.  No.  Fry reminded himself.  Not Amy. Locuteus. 

 “Fry, is that you?” the figure asked.  “Don’t resist, Fry.  It’s, you know, futile and stuff.”

Fry almost completely forgot that Leela had given him a means of protecting himself against this precise situation.  If he’d worried earlier that he wouldn’t be able pull the trigger if he found Amy in his sights, his doubts were now entirely extinguished.  The little stunner seemingly aimed itself and fired of its own volition.  A diffuse, bluish-green glow reached out from the weapon and hit Amy in the chest.  The electric crack that marked the stunner’s connection made Fry jump.  Amy convulsed, letting out a shriek that was metallic and inhuman before her body hit the ground like a sack of space potatoes.  It was too much.  Fry, unable to even to move, let the suddenly heavy stunner fall from his trembling hand.  What have I done?
_____________________________ _____________________________ ____________

Ok, so this isn’t working.  Leela thought to herself as she skidded around a corner and cartwheeled over a handful of packaged Xbox 16200s.  Chelsea wasn’t far behind; Leela could hear her footfalls just a few paces behind her.  Leela seemingly wasn’t able to lose her, even in the maze of boxes that were piled everywhere.  She was holding on to a lead of a few seconds, but that couldn’t last forever.  Leela had been running all night.  She wasn’t at her limit yet, but she was starting to notice an ache in her legs, and each breath was just a little more labored than the last.

There was some kind of horrible scream somewhere in the distance, and Chelsea stopped running for a moment.  Leela brought her plasma rifle up to her waist and squeezed off two shots.  Chelsea clumsily moved out of the way, and the rounds tore through a pile of mattresses that reached nearly to the distant ceiling.  The top third of the pile fell away from the rest and tumbled to the ground, burying Chelsea 10 feet deep.  A siren started to wail overhead as tendrils of smoke rose toward the ceiling.  Leela turned away and began to put as much distance between her and her opponent as possible.  A whitish foam began to rain down on her from above as the building’s emergency fire suppression system tried to put out the rapidly growing fire.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

“Amy?  Amy, can you hear me?”  Fry shook the intern’s limp body, but he got no response.  “Amy?!”  He was starting to panic.  Amy had a pulse; he’d learned just enough from watching M.A.S.H reruns to figure out how to check for it without choking her in the process.  But she’d been out cold for five minutes, and there was smoke rising from somewhere not too far away. 

Fry gave Amy one last shake before letting her slide to the floor.  He sat down next to her and exhaled loudly.  He had no idea what he was supposed to do.  Out in the open, he was a sitting duck, but he couldn’t just leave Amy alone in the middle of the floor.  And then there was that column of smoke, which seemed to be a bit thicker than it had been when he’d last looked at it. 

Amy’s only a hundred pounds or so. He thought.  I could probably carry her.  But where was he going to go?  Even if he managed to get out of the building without Chelsea finding him, there was an army of cyborgs surrounding the place with orders to shoot him on sight.  His only other option was the crawlspace that he’d been hiding in.  There was no way to know where it led, but it was the only route away from the strengthening fire that didn’t end at the business end of a gauss rifle.  At least, he hoped it didn’t.   
_____________________________ _____________________________ __________

Leela stopped to catch her breath.  She was fairly certain that she’d lost Chelsea.  No one had tried to shoot her for several minutes, which had been a pleasant change of pace.  The white foam falling from the sky was making things difficult.  It was like an ankle-deep sea of styrofoam clinging to every surface, and Leela couldn’t help but leave tracks in it as she scrambled from one box island to the next.  She’d had to double back and retrace her steps several times before she was confident that she couldn’t be followed. 

Leela just couldn’t get over how mindbogglingly big the warehouse was.   She and Chelsea had been playing cat and mouse for half an hour now, and Leela had yet to see the entire structure. 

About 30 seconds passed before the PE Captain started to move again.  She didn’t have much in the way of a plan yet, but she was certain that her current strategy of running around in circles in a building that was on fire wasn’t paying off.  Now that she’d lost Chelsea, she was slowly working her way back toward Fry.  Somehow they were going to have to escape the building, and then try to get out of the city.  How all of that was going to happen, she hadn’t the slightest idea.

When she’d made it about halfway back to Fry’s hiding place, she came across a set of tracks in the deepening foam.  Her first thought was that they belonged to Locuteus, but she immediately realized that they were too big.  Fry?  But that didn’t make sense either.  The tracks were heading in almost the same direction as she was, which meant they were headed toward Fry’s hiding place, not away from it.   Remembering the scream that she’d heard earlier, Leela decided to follow the tracks.  It wasn’t hard to do; whoever had left them hadn’t even tried to mask them. 

The tracks didn’t lead to Fry’s hiding place, although they must have passed close by.  Instead, they headed straight for the far wall and disappeared into a small hallway that had been hidden behind a stack of crates.  Leela would never even have known it was there if not for the trail she was following.

The hallway was short, 10 yards at the longest, and soon emptied into a long, narrow chamber filled with row upon row of gigantic metal silos.  An open corridor, really just the extension of the hallway that she’d just left, ran down the middle of the room and ended at a solid-looking door.   There was no fire depressant foam here, and the tracks Leela was following petered out to nothing.  It didn’t matter though, for she could see her target walking confidently away from her down the center of the corridor.

Leela let out a growl when she recognized the grey uniform and black boots.  She leveled her weapon, and the figure stopped and turned to face her. 

“What are you doing here?” Leela demanded. 

Walt smiled and shrugged.  A laser pistol was in his left hand, held at the ready.  “Why, I’m here to help, of course.” He said oily.

In a few seconds, Leela had closed the distance between them.  “Mother flunkie.  You wouldn’t help us if your life depended on it.  You’d better tell me what you’re really doing here, and do it now, because I promise I will kill you where you stand if the next words out of your mouth aren’t the truth.”  She cocked her rifle.  “Actually, now that I think about it, don’t tell me the truth.  I’ll enjoy blasting you to pieces.”  It wasn’t an idle threat this time, either.  She fully intended to vaporize his sniveling face.

If Walt was worried, he certainly didn’t show it.  “I didn’t say I was here to help you.”  He said evenly.  “All I said was that I’m here to help.  Myself, as it turns out.  But, what is good for me is also good for you.”

“Yeah, and how’s that?”

“Well, this cyborg friend of yours is planning to take over the universe.  That’s not very good for business, now is it?”  When Leela didn’t respond, Walt continued “When Mother discovers what happened to the Moss crop, and she will find out sooner or later, I’ll have to take the fall, but saving the universe will more than make up for the lost revenue.”

Leela wanted so badly to pull the trigger that her finger was twitching, but she stayed her hand.  The problem was that Walt wasn’t lying; she could read it in the steady confidence of his body language.  It was hard to swallow, but Walt, who obviously knew his way around the facility, might be useful to her.  For awhile.  “Only you could be twisted enough to have to rationalize saving lives as good business sense.” She spat.  She was silent for a few seconds, and then, reluctantly, she lowered her rifle.  “But, as dirty as it makes feel to admit, you’re more useful to me alive than dead.”  When Walt bowed graciously, Leela raised her weapon again.  “But you’re going to hand over your pistol, and if I get even the slightest feeling that you’re not on the level, I won’t hesitate to use this.  Understood?”

Walt nodded, and handed over his weapon butt first.  “Then we have a deal.  Excellent!”

Leela took the weapon and tucked it into her waistband.  She felt the bile rise in her throat as Walt gestured for her to follow him down the corridor.  She swallowed hard.  “Do you at least have a plan?” she asked as she hurried to match his step.

“Of course!” Walt said.  “There’s a plasma fusion boiler not too far from here.  I’m no engineer, but I assume that, if we shoot a few holes in it...”  He shrugged.

Leela stopped in her tracks.  “Wait a minute.  You want to blow up a fusion boiler while we’re still in the building?  That’s your plan?!”

“I admit there’s a few, ah, minor issues with it, but I’m sure we’ll work them out.”

“Great.”  Mentally, Leela was kicking herself for not just shooting Walt the moment she’d seen him.

Leela and Walt had made it about half way down the corridor, which was deceptively long, when there was a loud noise ahead of them and to their right.  Leela pulled Walt behind a nearby silo, and the two of them waited.  The PE Captain made sure to watch Walt out of the corner of her eye, but he didn’t even look at the pistol that protruded from her sweatpants. 

There was some kind of a scraping sound, followed by a barely audible clang and a thud.  Someone began to speak in a low whisper.  She thought she recognized Fry’s voice.

“Fry, is that you?”  She hissed.  The whispering abruptly stopped.  A few moments later, there was a cautious answer.


Now Leela was sure that it was him.  “Fry, it’s me.” she said, a little louder.  “I’ve got Walt with me.  He’s decided to help us.  We’re going to come out now, so don’t shoot, alright?”  She gestured with her rifle for Walt to follow her out into the open.  The two of them stood quietly in the open for a second or two before Leela saw Fry cautiously round a silo on the opposite side of the corridor.  The ex delivery boy looked exhausted.  He was covered in dust and grime, and there was a nasty looking bruise on his forehead. 

“Fry, what happened to you?” Leela asked. 

“I- I shot Amy.” he said and looked away.

There was a moment of silence before Leela could manage a reply.  “Oh.  Oh Fry, I’m- I’m so sorry.”  She moved to touch his shoulder, but something caught her eye.  A leg protruded from behind the silo that Fry had been hiding behind.  “Wait, what’s that?”

Fry didn’t even look.  “I had to get her away from the fire.”  He said.  “The only way was through the maintenance tube thing.  I had to drag her.”  On the verge of hysteria, he reached into his pocket and threw his little stun pistol across the room.  “Leela, I shot Amy!”

“Wait, you shot Amy with that?  With the stun pistol I gave you?”  Leela rushed to the intern’s side, and felt a wave of relief wash over her when she felt the regular beat of her pulse.  “She’s alive!  For God’s sake, Fry.  Don’t scare me like that!”

“But I shot her!”

“No,” Leela replied.  “You shot Locuteus.  And she’ll be perfectly fine when she wakes up, just like you were when Walt shot you, remember?”

Fry started to protest, but seemed to give up.  He nodded.

“Okay, good.  Now come on, we’ve wasted way too much time.  Chelsea wasn’t that far behind me; she’ll be here at any moment.”  And then there was the fire.  The suppressant was slowing its growth, but she could now just barely smell smoke wafting in from the storage room where it had started.

“What about Amy?” Fry asked nervously.  “I don’t want to leave her behind again.”

“We aren’t going to.  You and Walt are going to carry her while I cover you.  Alright?”  Walt began to protest, but a slight movement of Leela’s weapon was enough to shut him up.

Fry seemingly noticed Walt for the first time when he took a step toward Amy.  The redhead moved to put himself between Walt and the intern.  “He’s going to help us?” He asked, dubiously.

Yes, by being another target for Chelsea to shoot at.  “Walt wants Chelsea stopped as much as we do.  He wants to help us.”

When Fry gave Walt a sideways look that clearly showed how little he believed that, Leela added “I don’t like it either, but we need him, Fry.  And I trust him more where I can see him than I do skulking around on his own.”

The redhead still looked suspicious, but when he looked into Leela’s eye and didn’t seem to find anything to contradict what she’d said, he nodded reluctantly, and let Walt pass.  The two men knelt by Amy’s side.  After they both put one of her arms over their shoulders, they stood in unison.  They began to half walk, half stumble toward the door at the end of the corridor, but they didn’t get far before they heard footsteps running down the corridor after them.  A gauss bolt ricocheted off the floor not too far away.  Leela cursed loudly.  They had taken too long; Chelsea had found Walt’s trail in the foam.

Another bolt whizzed by, and Leela had to duck out of the way.  “Move!” she yelled.

Fry and Walt tried to pick up the pace, but Amy’s dead weight was too awkward for them to manage more than a fast walk. It was immediately obvious that they weren’t going to make it.  Leela yelled for the two men to put Amy out of harm’s way behind one of the silos.  Then, rolling across the width of the corridor, she took cover behind a silo of her own.  She aimed her plasma rifle and sent three blasts crashing into the corridor where Chelsea had been.  Chelsea ducked out of the way.  The three smoldering craters that Leela’s rifle had left in the floor made the PE Captain hesitate. She had no idea what the towering silos contained.  For all she knew, they were filled to the brim with explosive darkmatter oil.  Firing a ball of superheated plasma into one of the gigantic cylinders was probably not a smart idea.  She dropped the rifle and pulled Walt’s laser pistol from her waistband.    She glanced at it quickly, noted that it was fully charged, and leaned around the edge of her silo.  A crackling bolt of electricity shot by close enough that her bangs were singed.  She cursed loudly and fired back.

Space Pope
« Reply #195 on: 10-08-2008 22:56 »

How do you manage to keep outdoing yourself?
You're indefatigable.

Two more updates to go now? Ok, I can deal with that, especially since I honestly think I'm even more psyched for your next one.
A writer of your stature shouldn't cease just yet.

As for this update - yes, good thing Leela "fought the urge to play Tetris" on the thing she wears on her wrist, indeed. (And I noticed you left Zoidberg out of Fry's musings on his "family").  Quite suspenseful, the warehouse pursuit was taut, and your powers of invoking visualization remain vivid and excellent as always.

Another thing I don't know if I've mentioned that I love in general about your fics overall are all the little science details and touches you put in them; and usually insert plenty of humor as well. Very little humor in this section, but somehow with you it doesn't seem to matter.


Urban Legend
« Reply #196 on: 10-10-2008 23:51 »

Hey thanks for the comment Km73.  Don't worry, I'm not done writing yet.  I'm working on a new fic, which I'm calling Green Storm RIsing.  I havent decided when to start posting it yet, but it'll be sometime soon I would think.

As for this update - yes, good thing Leela "fought the urge to play Tetris" on the thing she wears on her wrist,
  Heh, yeah I like the Tetris line too.  JustMibblin' came up with it.

Starship Captain
« Reply #197 on: 10-11-2008 02:14 »

Amazing job soylent!

Loved how hard fry took shooting Amy, and how he hauled her to safety afterward. Planet Express makes for a hell of a family, and Fry knows its worth fighting for.

Can't wait for the final updates!

Space Pope
« Reply #198 on: 10-11-2008 04:59 »

Family, maybe, but as I said, apparently not including Zoidberg.    Hee.

I'm working on a new fic, which I'm calling Green Storm RIsing.  I havent decided when to start posting it yet, but it'll be sometime soon I would think.

Sure, that's what I meant. You already posted the prologue, above.

Also, "JustMibblin" is a pretty cool new username.   :P

I wonder if JN knows about that.

Urban Legend
« Reply #199 on: 10-12-2008 21:25 »
« Last Edit on: 10-12-2008 21:50 »

@km: JustMibblin is JN's evil twin.  Didn't you know?

Here's the big, over-the-top, explosion-heavy climactic scene.  I'm a little worried you wont like the last part of it, but I couldn't really come up with another way to end this story that made sense.  Honestly, I don't know how Arch writes all of these character-driven scenes.  They're hard as hell.

Part 4
Chapter 7
_____________________________ _____________________________ _______

Fry felt his heart skip a beat.  He’d thought Leela was hit, but she didn’t look hurt.  Cautiously, he peered around the curved metal surface of the silo he was using as cover and scanned the rows of identical silos for Chelsea.  He thought he saw something protrude from behind one of the cylinders about 10 rows away.  It took his mind awhile to register what he was looking at.  Gun.  He turned away just in time.

“Leela!” he called.  “She’s behind one of these container thingies, about, uhh, I dunno how far away that is!”

“Thanks Fry, that’s very helpful.” Leela yelled back, sarcastically.  “Please don’t hesitate…” she paused to fire off a volley at Chelsea dove across the corridor. “… to distract me again.”

Deflated, Fry gave up and went to sit beside Amy’s motionless form.  A flurry of gauss bolts shot past, but he was well out of their reach.  “Leela and Chelsea are fighting.” He told the intern.  He’d been talking to her ever since he’d decided to haul her into the maintenance tunnel, though he didn’t really know why.  Even if she could hear him, it was Locuteus he was talking to, not Amy.

“I don’t think Leela’s winning.” He admitted.  “Chelsea has that lightning gun, but all Leela has is Walt’s little pistol.  Her big gun must have run out of ammo or something.”  He paused for a moment.  Wait a minute, where is Walt, anyway?  The delivery boy looked around, but there was no sign of him.  Uhoh, Leela’s gonna be mad at me again.

“Umm, Leela?” Fry called. 

Leela hurled herself across the open corridor and half rolled, half tumbled into the space between Fry’s silo and the one in front of it.  He couldn’t see her anymore, but he could clearly hear her yell at him to shut up and let her concentrate.

Not quite sure what to do, Fry peeked around the side of his hiding place and saw Chelsea casually walking down the middle of the corridor toward him.  When she saw him, her face broke into a grin that made his face turn pale.  She must have somehow known that he was unarmed, because she didn’t bother to move out of the way until Leela’s pistol popped out into the open.  Fry noticed with fear that Chelsea had cut the distance between them to five silo-widths.

Suddenly, Fry remembered Leela’s discarded plasma rifle.  It was still sitting where she’d dropped it, on the other side of the corridor, one silo closer to Chelsea than he was.  I shouldn’t let Chelsea get that.  He realized.  Leela might need it later.  Swallowing his fear, Fry made a blind dash across the twenty feet of open space.  Something very hot passed just behind the back of his head, but he managed to make it in one piece.  Shaking from his close call, Fry rounded the side of the silo opposite the corridor and ran the short distance to Leela’s weapon.  Carefully he picked it up and cradled it against his body, much the way that he had done with the medkit that Leela had given him- and that he had lost about five minutes later.  He was just turning to retrace his steps when he saw the unmistakable figure of Walt pass between a silo farther down his row and the wall that ran adjacent to the main corridor.  He was walking in the direction away from Chelsea.  The uniformed man didn’t seem to notice that Fry had seen him.  Fry, suspicious and sure that Leela would want him to keep an eye on their ‘ally’, decided to follow him.

Walt passed three rows of silos before turning left toward the corridor.  He stopped at the silo adjacent to the corridor, which was positioned across the open space from and two rows behind Leela.  Fry positioned himself where he could keep an eye on what Walt was doing and waited.  After risking exposing himself long enough to steal a glance at Leela, Walt kneeled behind his silo and reached into one of his pockets.  He pulled out something small and metallic.  My stun gun! Fry realized.  He must’ve snuck away to go look for it when I had my back turned!   But to do that, he’d have had to actually pass Chelsea, run halfway down the corridor, turn around, and then pass Chelsea again.  He wasn’t planning to use the gun on Chelsea then, or he’d have done it already.  So that meant…  Actually, what did that mean?  Confused, he watched Walt raise the pistol as Leela cursed nearby.

“Leela!” Fry screamed frantically and tossed himself at Walt.  He landed on top of him just as Walt pulled the trigger.  There was a hum and a familiar crack. 
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

The stunner hit her a glancing blow in the legs, which immediately went numb.  Losing her balance, the PE Captain toppled out into the corridor.  Her head hit the smooth black tile with a thud that made her vision go blurry for an instant.  Walt’s laser pistol fell from her hand and skidded to a stop about five feet away.

Chelsea, sensing her victory, emerged from cover and began striding in Leela’s direction.  Leela, seeing the laser pistol, began to crawl toward it.  Chelsea, seeing this, began to laugh.  She stopped about ten feet from her helpless prey and put her hands on her hips.  “Go on.” She mocked.  “Just a little farther.  You can do it.”  When Leela looked up to glare at her, she laughed again.  “Oh, don’t be angry.  You brought this on yourself, you know.  Its what you get for associating with unmodified humans; they’ll betray you at the first opportunity.” 

“Go to hell.” Leela hissed through clenched teeth.  The pistol was just about in her reach. 

Another laugh.  “Defiant to the last; I love it.  You know, if you weren’t so hideously ugly, I might actually be able to respect that.  Oh, and you do realize that I’m going to shoot you the moment you touch that thing, right?”  When Leela ignored her, Chelsea sighed.  “Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”  She raised her weapon.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

Walt proved to be more of a match than Fry had expected.  The balding man wasn’t very strong, but he somehow kept managing to worm his way out of Fry’s grasp.  It was like trying to grip a snake that had been dipped in robot oil.  Finally Fry managed to snatch the stunner way from him.  Then, raising his arm over his head, Fry brought the weapon down on his opponent’s skull with all of his strength.  Walt immediately went limp.

Panting, Fry stood and turned to find Chelsea standing over Leela while the cyclops slowly pulled herself along the ground. 

He was just in time to hear Chelsea say “Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.”  When the raven haired woman raised her gauss gun and pointed it squarely at Leela’s head, Fry felt a wave of adrenaline crash through his body.  Leela’s discarded plasma rifle appeared in his hands.  He screamed, and waving the gun wildly in the air, he charged.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ___________

Almost got it. Leela thought.  Her fingertips just barely brushed the trigger guard.  She knew she wasn’t going to be fast enough.  Chelsea would fry her long before she could pick the weapon up and use it, but, if she was going to die, Leela planned to do it with a gun in her hand.  She wasn’t going to get slaughtered while she lay helpless in the middle of the floor.  With one last push, Leela managed to curl her middle finger around the trigger guard.  There was a loud cocking noise a foot from her head as she pulled the pistol toward her.  Well, this is it. She thought.

There was a loud yell, and the sound of running feet.  Chelsea, who Leela could see out of the corner of her eye, froze in confusion.  A moment later a volley of plasma flew over Leela’s head, followed by a red ball of fury.  Fry slammed into Chelsea at full speed, causing the woman to stumble back a few feet.  Chelsea growled, and grabbing Fry with one hand, sent him flying back the way he’d come.  The redhead skidded a good ten feet when he hit the ground.  Leela rolled over onto her back and aimed the laser pistol, but Chelsea ripped it out of her grasp and stuck her own gun in Leela’s face.  She started to pull the trigger, but a searing greenish-white light came screaming down the corridor and caught her in the stomach.  The plasma’s momentum was enough to pick her up and hurl her into a nearby silo.  There was a terrific ripping sound as the metal canister buckled under the impact, and then a terrific explosion as the ball of plasma lost containment.  A gaping hole appeared in the silo, and something soft and purple flooded out into the corridor.

_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

Fry let his arm slump to the floor.  The plasma rifle clicked against the hard tile, and Fry let it go.  He watched the cloud of smoke that had enveloped Chelsea slowly dissipate as he lay on his back where he’d come to rest.  His head hurt.  His hand came away sticky when he reached up to touch his forehead, and his surroundings seemed to suddenly retreat from him.  He sank into unconsciousness.
_____________________________ _____________________________ _____________

It took awhile for everything that had just happened to really register in Leela’s mind.  She blinked a couple of times, and tried to look around her.  “Fry?” She tried, but there was no response.  Some of the sensation was starting to come back to her legs; not much, but enough that she was able to get up onto her knees after some considerable effort and crawl in the direction of her friend’s body. 

It took her awhile, but Leela finally managed to push herself alongside Fry.  The bottom halves of her legs were about as useful as logs, but she was eventually able to get herself into a sitting position.

Worried by the blood trickling from a gash in the ex delivery boy’s forehead, Leela bent over him.  She noted with relief that he was breathing.  “Fry?  Fry, can you hear me?” She called softly.  She took him by the shoulders and gently shook him when he began to stir.  “Wake up, Fry.  We won!”

Suddenly Fry sat bolt upright, and then winced as his bruised body protested.

Leela smiled at him.  “You look like hell.” She teased, hoping to provoke a smile.  Fry just stared blankly at her for a moment, seemingly looking through her, before his eyes were drawn to the smashed silo.  Alarmed, Leela grabbed Fry’s chin and forcibly turned him back toward her.

“Don’t.” She said softly.  “Don’t look.”

There were tears in Fry’s eyes when he looked at her again.  He didn’t speak for quite awhile, but then a weak smile appeared on his face.  “You too.” He said.

Leela blinked, surprised.  “What?”

“You look like hell too.”  None of the pain had left his eyes, but the smile stayed on his face.

Leela returned the smile and reached out to put a hand on his shoulder.  “Do you think you can stand?”

Fry experimented with moving his legs a little.  “Yeah, I think so.” He said and, when Leela nodded to him, painfully hauled himself to his feet.   When he was relatively sure he wasn’t going to fall down again, he reached out and grabbed Leela’s hand.   After a few false starts Leela managed to stand, and was even able to walk if she leaned on Fry’s shoulder.  By the time the two of them had hobbled their way back to where they’d left Amy, Leela had just about all of her strength back. 

Amy was still out cold, which was a little alarming.  It had been a long time since she’d been zapped.  She should have come around by now.  Leela thought uneasily.  Earlier, she’d told Fry that Amy was going to be fine, just like Fry himself had been when he’d been shot, but she wasn’t sure that was the truth.  Who knew what effect a stunner would have on someone who’d been merged with a computer?

A low groan reached Leela’s ears.  Oh yeah, Walt.

 Bruised and disheveled, Walt lay in a heap against one of the silos.  His left hand was pressed against the back of his head, where a large lump was forming.  Leela crossed her arms and stood over him.  “You shot me.” She said flatly.

At the sound of her voice, Walt started.  He looked up at her, and there was a glimmer of fear in his eyes for the briefest of moments.  “Actually,” he said,  “I’ve shot you twice now.”

That was a mistake.  Anger flared in Leela’s eye and she kicked him hard in the ribs.  Walt made a noise like a balloon being deflated.  “Want to try that again?” She spat.

Walt winced when he tried to talk.  “That was the deal” he finally managed.  “If you became too much to deal with, I was supposed to stop you somehow.”

“Deal?  What deal?” Fry demanded.

“With Chelsea, I’m sure.” Leela answered.  “I wondered how you managed to get in here so easily.  It was because Chelsea’s goons let you in, wasn’t it? “

Walt nodded affirmative, and Leela kicked him again.  “Why?  Why in God’s name would you help her, you slithery little worm?!”  She raised her fist to strike him, but let her arm drop when Walt cringed away from her.  Disgusted, Leela waited for him to speak.

“I didn’t have a choice.” He wheezed.  “She has my brothers.”

Leela was suddenly speechless.  Walt caught the confused expression on her face.  “When the cyborgs showed up, right after our talk in the alley, they got Larry and Ignar. When Ms. Xiao learned that you weren’t human, she went crazy.” He paused a moment to breathe before continuing “She was going to turn me into a drone, but I managed to convince her to let me and my brothers go if I helped her get rid of you.”

Fry and Leela exchanged glances.  “You risked your life to save your brothers?  That’s surprisingly… un-evil of you.” Leela said finally.  “But you didn’t really expect Chelsea to let you all go, did you?”

“My brothers are idiots.” Walt said with a bit of anger.  “But they’re still my brothers.”  With a groan, Walt managed to get himself into a sitting position, and then, after resting for a moment, he pulled himself to his feet.  “I knew that Ms. Xiao wasn’t going to let them go.  I was planning to earn her trust by killing you, and then stabbing her in the back when she wasn’t looking.”

Fry nodded, relieved.  “Yep, that sounds more like you.” he said.

Walt scowled at the redhead, but, rather than making a sarcastic comment, he seemed to grow alarmed.  “There is more smoke in here than there was earlier.” He said.

With a start, Leela realized that he was right.  The air was starting to get a little hazy, and there was no way it was all due to the fireball from the exploding plasma round.  We completely forgot that the building is on fire.  Leela realized in amazement.  When she looked down the corridor toward the gigantic storage room, she could just barely make out a reddish glow.  The fire wouldn’t spread into the silo chamber- there was nothing for it to burn- but they could all suffocate to death if they stayed too long.

“Is there another way out of here?” Leela demanded of Walt, who nodded.

“Yes, through there.”  He pointed toward the metal door that they had been trying to reach.

“I thought that was where the boiler was.” Leela said, suspicious that Walt was once again up to something.

“There are many rooms back there.” Walt replied.  “One of them leads to an exit.”

Leela stared at him long and hard, but eventually decided that it was worth the risk.  “Alright, fine.” She said.  “You’re going to take us to the exit.  Fry, do you think you can manage with Amy all by yourself, while I make sure this creep doesn’t try anything else?

Fry nodded and started to walk briskly away.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

He’d just about made it to the silo that Amy had been abandoned by when his eyes were drawn again toward the charred remains of the damaged silo.  I have to know.  Fry realized.  He couldn’t let his last memory of Chelsea be her look of confusion and fear as she disappeared into a fiery explosion.  He knew what he was likely to find, but he had to see her one last time to say goodbye.

A hole ten feet wide had been smashed in the side of the cylinder. Something purple and soft had erupted from the hole and settled into a pile about three feet deep and ten feet across.  At the far end of the pile was a motionless figure, half buried.  When Fry tried to step on the purple stuff that was carpeting the floor, it seemed to suck at his feet.  He stopped for a moment, trying to figure out how something so soft looking could be so sticky, when he realized with a start that the stuff was beginning to climb up his leg.

 An arm came out of nowhere and hauled him backwards.  He came free of the Moss with a loud sucking noise, only to find himself face to face with an angry cyclops. 

“What the hell were you doing?” Leela demanded.  Her left hand pointed at him accusingly while her right aimed her laser pistol at Walt’s head.  “I told you not to go look!  What were you thinking?!”

“I had to say goodbye.” Fry said, defensively.

The fire in Leela’s eye flared for a moment, then softened.  “I’m sorry, Fry.” she said, obviously mad at herself for her outburst.  She shook her head.  “You scared me to death when I saw you start to walk into that stuff.  Don’t you know what that is?”

“Umm, no?”  Fry said

“It’s Moss.”  Walt said.  “The last of last year’s shipment.  This is where we store the stuff once it’s shipped down the Hudson River from the initial processing plant.  Of course, these silos will be empty in a few weeks now that there’s no new crop to fill them back up again.”  He looked pointedly in Leela’s direction, and then grunted when the cyclops even more pointedly jabbed him in the gut with the pistol.

Fry was only half paying attention.  “Oh” he said, but his eyes were fixated on Chelsea’s half buried body.  Leela made no move to stop him when he moved to go to her.

The redhead had to go well out of his way to avoid the morass of purple that covered the floor, but at last he was at Chelsea’s side.  Chelsea’s lower body was buried in Moss, but everything above her waist was free.  A pool of blood was slowly spreading out from under her. 

Fry knelt and regarded her silently.  The emotions he was feeling were too complex for him to understand.  He was still terrified of her, but he also felt a deep sadness.  Maybe she was right when she said my habit of seeing the good in everybody is a weakness.  She had tried to kill him.  She was clearly insane, but Fry couldn’t help remembering all of the good times that the two of them had had before their disastrous attempt to find the PE crew.   The words that she’d said when they’d been walking home from Elzar’s popped into his head. 

“It took me years to understand that she betrayed me, not because she was cruel, but because she was too ignorant to understand what she had done.  I didn’t hate her; I wasn’t disgusted by what she did.  I just had to tell myself that that’s who she was.  She couldn’t help it…”

Chelsea had never told him who the person had been.  Was it her mother?  He wondered, remembering that her mom had turned Chelsea’s father over to the authorities when she’d discovered his illegal cybernetic experiments.  Fry repeated the words to himself again, and realized that he couldn’t hate Chelsea, either.  She wasn’t cruel.  He told himself.  She just didn’t understand.

Gently, Fry reached out to touch her, one last time.  There was a twitch, and Chelsea’s lips moved.  Fry screamed and jumped back, and Chelsea’s eyes opened.
_____________________________ _____________________________ ______________

“Chelsea? Chelsea?!” Fry was screaming when Leela finally reached him.  She momentarily forgot that she was supposed to be continuously threatening Walt with death when Chelsea moved her head to look at her.  Luckily, Walt also seemed to forget that he should be trying to escape, because he appeared to Leela’s left a moment later.

“You’re alive?” Leela managed, and then raised her laser pistol.  “How is that possible?  Fry shot you in the chest!”

Chelsea coughed.  “Don’t worry.” She said, weakly.  “Just give it a few more minutes.”  She coughed again, and a fine mist of blood escaped from her mouth.

Fry was forcefully shaking his head.  “No, no.  You can’t die now; not like this.”  He turned to Leela, his eyes wet.  “Leela, we’ve got to do something!” He pleaded.

Leela stared at Fry for a moment.  “But… But she tried to kill us.  Many times.”

Fry shook his head again.  “But now we can get her help!  She’s not evil, Leela.  Not really.  She’s just confused.”  Frantically, he tugged at her hand.  “Please Leela, we have to help her.  Don’t let her die!”

Leela started to say something several times, but, for some reason, she found that she was unable to argue.  I guess I can’t let her bleed to death on the warehouse floor.  She thought at length.  Maybe we can take her somewhere where she can get some help.  Then: Damnit, Fry’s optimism is getting to me!  She sighed.   “Alright.” She said to Fry.  “I’ll see what I can do.”

Walt grunted in surprise.  “What are you doing?!” He demanded.  “You aren’t really going to try and save this- thing, are you?!”

Leela turned on him.  “Unlike you, I can’t let another person bleed to death while I stand around and watch.” She snarled.  “Chelsea isn’t going anywhere.  A layer of Moss half that deep was enough to keep Bender from moving even a footcup, and she can’t be any stronger than he is.  Now either help me save her life, or get the hell out of my way.”

“But, but you can’t…  No!”  Before Leela could react, Walt had reached out and grabbed the laser pistol from her.  By the time he’d pointed it at her, Leela was already halfway through her flying roundhouse kick.

“Hee-ya!” Leela yelled, and her boot connected with Walt’s jaw.  The force of the blow twisted the balding man’s head to the right, and a single tooth went spiraling away into the distance.  Deflating like a punctured air mattress, Walt slid to the ground and didn’t move.  Leela was fairly confident that he wouldn’t be getting up for awhile.

Still fuming- yet somehow feeling a bit better- Leela retrieved the gun and went to kneel next to Fry.  The delivery boy gestured for her to hurry; the pool of blood was noticeably larger than it had been before. 

When Leela reached out toward the wound, Chelsea jerked away.  “Don’t come near me, Leela.” She warned.  The all-consuming fury had left her eyes.  Now they were filled with a combination of suspicion and fear.  “Don’t touch me.”

“Don’t be scared, Chelsea.” Fry tried to reassure her.  “Leela just wants to help.”

Chelsea, of course, wasn’t buying it, but, trapped as she was in the clinging Moss, she really couldn’t resist.  Leela was finally able to get an arm under the struggling woman’s torso.  Chelsea gasped when Leela’s hand found the wound.  Leela pulled her arm back as gently as she could.

“Fry” she said.  “Give me your shirt.  We’ll try and make a bandage.”  This isn’t good.  Leela told herself.  It’s a big wound, and she’s lost a lot of blood. Even with all of those cyborg upgrades, her insides are probably all smashed up.   She doesn’t have much time left.

In about two seconds Fry had stripped off his shirt and handed it to her.  Leela immediately began ripping it into long strips.  When she’d made as many bandages as she could, she told Fry to grab Chelsea by the shoulders.  “You’ll need to lift her while I put the bandages on.” She said.  “It’s going to hurt her.”  She met Chelsea’s eyes.  “A lot.”  She said, before looking back at Fry.  “Whatever you do, don’t drop her, even if she screams, okay?”

Fry’s face turned pale.  He looked at Chelsea and then back at Leela.  He gulped, then nodded.  “Okay.”

“Alright.  On the count of three.  One,  Two… Three!”  Fry hauled up on Chelsea’s shoulders, and Leela slid the makeshift bandages around her body.  By the time Leela had tied them off they were already turning bright red.  Chelsea started to scream, but immediately began to cough up blood.

When Leela signaled to Fry to let Chelsea down, the black haired woman was crying.  “Why?” She asked between coughs.  “Why are you trying to help me?”

When she realized that the question wasn’t directed at Fry, but at her, Leela knelt down by Chelsea’s side.  “You really don’t know, do you?” She asked sadly, and shook her head.  She sighed. “Chelsea, I’m helping you because it’s right.” 

“But, I tried to kill you!”  Chelsea protested, confusion and fear in her voice.  “Why are you helping me?!”  Now there was panic in the woman’s voice.  Abruptly she was silenced by an all-consuming cough.  When the spasms ceased, Chelsea turned to Fry, and there were tears in her eyes.  “I don’t understand, Fry.”  She cried desperately.  “I don’t understand.” 

Fry realized that something had changed in her voice.   He knew suddenly that he was no longer talking to the sociopathic killer, but the kind, gentle Chelsea that he had first met.  “It’s okay, Chelsea.” He said softly.  “Its alright.”  He reached out a hand to her, and Chelsea took it. 

“I don’t understand.”  Chelsea said again, and then threw up a river of red.  “I don’t…”  Chelsea’s grip started to weaken.  She looked up at Fry, one last time, her tears running down her face and merging with the deepening pool.  “I’m so sorry, Fry.” She said, and the life went out of her.
_____________________________ _____________________________ _______

So what do you think?  Too corny/sappy?  I've never killed off a character that mattered before.  I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out.

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