Artificial Entities Resurrected
By Fatso Huuskonen
Fry couldn't remember how long he had been lying there. His consciousness was
blurred from excruciating pain and loss of blood. His body felt numb, except for
the parts that felt like they were on fire.
He heard a faint scream, and his brain started slowly processing the newly
He tried to lift his body to a sitting position to see what was going on, but
his feeble attempt was nullified by a blunt object making contact with the back
of his head.
Two weeks earlier
New New York
Planet Express Building
"Good news, everyone!"
A chorus of depressed sighs was the only reply to the professor's exclamation.
"You've got a delivery to space station Citadel 2."
"This is an urgent delivery. They need Isotope X-22 to sustain their particle
shield, and you're delivering it. It is of grave importance that they get it in
"Off you go!"
Onboard the Planet Express ship
Inside the cargo hold
Twenty minutes later
Amy and Leela were trying to get Fry into a hazard suit having great difficulties
at it. The outfit was very cumbersome, and after another unsuccessful attempt
of slipping his arm into the sleeve of the suit, Fry expressed his irritation.
"Aw, man! I hate these hazard suits. I can hardly walk in this thing!
Why do I have to wear this thing?"
Leela put her hands on her waist and reasoned, "Either that or radiation
poisoning, it's your decision, really."
"What if I do that radiation poisoning thing?"
She pointed at standard hazardous subtances freight container. It was a metallic
cube gray in color, approximately five meters wide, with a door on one and a monitoring
panel and a compartment on one side. On one side was a sticker that said, "Sal's
"You'll die in two minutes once the door to that containers door opens."
Fry looked at a normal shipping crate in one corner of the cargo hold.
"But that if that stuff is radioactive, then why is it in an unshielded
crate over there?"
"The Isotope itself isn't radioactive, the container is. The isotope must
be contained in a special containment field with particular radiation and magnetic
properties, or it will explode during space travel."
"Oh. Hey, why can't Amy get in this suit and do the job? She'd fit better
in this thing anyway."
"Spluh! It would ruin my hair."
Before she could continue, Leela cut in, "Now when I stretch this side,
you put your arm into the sleeve."
Finally they managed to get him inside the suit, and Fry started fitting the
helmet over his head.
"Why can't Bender do this? Where is he, anyway?"
"There's a strong magnetic field inside the container. He'd start singing
folk songs the minute he opened the door. Besides, he's at Mom Corp for maintenance."
The helmet locked into place and a hissing sound was heard when the suit's
life support system pressurised the inside. Leela checked a monitoring panel on
the chest of the suit.
"There, you're good to go. The life support system is working perfectly
and isolation is one hundred percent."
"Why do we have to put the bottle in this container anyway?"
"Isotope X-22 is very unstable substance, and without a magnetic container,
it would explode in a nuclear reaction when we blasted off."
Fry picked up the isotope container that was essentially an elliptical bottle
with a pair of handles at the ends, a readout on the front and a pair of connectors
in the back.
"Where do I put this thing?"
"On the pedestal in the middle. Then turn on the containment field fron
the switch on the back wall. I'll go to the bridge and monitor you from there,
don't open the door until I tell you to."
She and Amy walked outside the cargo hold, closed the door and made sure it
was sealed. After that, they went to the bridgewhere Leela flicked on a radio
transceiver and a few monitors.
"Fry, can you hear me?"
She saw him on one monitor jump a little as her voice came through to his helmet.
"Press the button on the side of your palm with your thumb to talk."
"Yeah, I can hear you fine."
"Okay then, are you ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be."
"Then let's get this over with. Go to the door of the container. Push
the red square on the door to open it."
The door hissed free from its seals and rumbled to the side to reveal the inside
of the magnetic container. A thin layer of yellow plasma-like substance was hovering
a few millimeters off the inner walls, it looked like it was just staying there
in mid-air, mutating in texture, like boiling water in slow motion.
"Fry, my monitors show that the entire cargo hold just filled with lethal
radiation. Do you feel anything?"
"I got this weird feeling, like a little hangover."
"Yeah the suit doesn't remove all radiation but that's not dangerous what
gets through. I'll get you some detox pills from the medbay after you're finished."
"Now put the bottle on the pedestal in the middle. There's a slight depression
on it where the bottle should fit snugly."
The isotope container clicked into place.
"I'll scan the isotope to get a base level for the variance tracker."
"Variance tracker. It monitors the isotope for changes in its state. This
way we'll know immediately if the isotope starts reacting. Now switch on the force
field from the switch on the back wall and we're through."
A force field was raised from a thin rim around the pedestal, going up to the
ceiling of the container to a similar rim. The field emitted an eerie red glow
and painted red everything seen through it.
"Good. Now just come out of there and close the door behind you."
Fry walked outside the container, pushed the red square on the door, and it
promptly rumbled to place. A hissing sound and a few clunking sounds as metal
made contact with metal and and the word "SEALED" was lit on a panel
on the door.
"OK, we're done. We'll just have to ventilate the cargo hold, but we can't
do it while we're inside the hangar, so you'll have to wait until blast off."
"Grab onto something, we're taking off now."
"Umm, what if something happens while I'm here close to this container?"
"If anything happens, you're just as dead as we are."
"Well, that comforts a lot."
"By the way, we're in space now, so Amy can ventilate the hold so you
can get out of that suit."
Several valves opened to let the polluted air from the cargo hold get out as
new fresh air pushed it out of its way. The valves closed, and then in one big
hiss the hold was pressurised to a pressure equal to Earth's atmosphere.
"Ok, now let's see the radiation levels."
Amy glanced the radiation display on her monitor.
"We need to do another pass, the air is not clean enough yet."
After another ventilation, Amy declared the cargo hold clean of residual radiation.
"You can get out of that suit now. Amy is coming down with some detox."
"Thanks, I'll appreciate it. This radiation is giving me a headache."
A few minutes later Amy walked down with a package of detox pills and a few bottles
of water. Fry was in the middle of removing the suits boots.
"Take two pills now, drink plenty of water, and if you still feel dizzy
after a couple of hours, take another two. Now go get some rest, the detox work
best on a resting body. And if you need to go to the bathroom, don't be surprised
if the water turns green."
"Heh, cool. Why does it do that?"
"The detox works by binding toxins and radiation particles to itself and
then getting out along with other body waste."
"Yeah, you know, urine? It is essentially excess liquid and unneeded chemicals
the body gets rid of."
"Cool and gross at the same time. How you know all this?"
"It was part of the safety course we had to take at the university before
getting in to reactor engineering class. Now go get some rest."
Fry mocked a salute and headed off to his quarters while amy took a clipboard
from a compartment on the side of the container, wrote down some readings from
a readout on the container onto a tracking form on the clipboard as well as to
a clipboard of her own, compared the numbers with some on the tracking sheet labelled
as "Safety tolerances", and smiled with contempt. She headed off to
"All readings are within safe limits, even the isotope canister is at
"That's good. If it wasn't Zapp Brannigan, a nuclear detonation would
be the last thing I want on my ship."
Vice President's office
Citadel 2 station
Viktor Degtjarev was sitting on his expensive leather chair behind his massive
oak desk. He was a respectfully large man, over two meters tall and shoulders
wider than the smallest of cars. He wore a black suit, wingtip shoes and he shaved
his head every day. If he hadn't been the vice president of TriOptimum corporation
people would have looked at him and thought he was a mafioso of some kind.
He had a glass of Moskovskaya vodka in one hand and a document in other. That
particular vodka was widely considered the best vodka there is, but still the
glass had very little of his attention. Even if the document was over 900 years
old (this one was a recent printout), the event it described was the most embarassing
ever in the history of TriOptimum corporation, therefore it was still classified
as confidential. Like so often before, he began reading the cover page and immediately
was possessed by the document, not being able to let his eyes off it until finished.
TriOptimum internal investigation dept.
Incident report: destruction of Citadel station, Nov 6th 2072
Madeleine Freeman, head of investigation committee
Report on the events onboard space station Citadel leading to its destruction
on nov 6th 2072.
Vice president Edward Diego
Authorized employee 2-4601 to hack into SHODAN, clearing evidence of his illegal
businesses. Rewarded him with an R-grade neural implant. Later converted to cyborg
by SHODAN and killed by employee 2-4601 on level 8 (security) in front of the
maintenance elevator to level 9 (bridge).
Hacked into TriOptimum corporate network attempting to access classified information
concerning Citadel station. After being apprehended, transported to Citadel to
hack SHODAN in favour of Diego. In the process removed ethical constraints, leading
to SHODAN's malfunction. After his six months of post-surgery healing coma, disabled
SHODAN and in the process scuttled Citadel station. Per arrangement with ms. Lansing,
his true identity has been erased from TriOptimum archives.
SHODAN (Sentient Hyper-Optimised Data Access Network)
The resident AI of Citadel, regulating the daily functions of the station. After
malfunctioning attempted destruction of Earth's major cities, launching a eco-pod
containing mutagens to earth, uploading itself to Earth's communication networks
and launching the station itself to pollute earth with the mutagens it had created.
Counter-terrorist consultant of TriOptimum, contacted 2-4601 after his coma and
briefed him of the situation. Instructed 2-4601 on how to defeat SHODAN. Arranged
the authorization for Employee 2-4601 to scuttle the station once it was noticed
that SHODAN had started moving the station towards Earth.
Even if the document was old it never stopped intriguing Degtjarev. He had
always thought the most amazing stories were from real life, and the only thing
more fascinating than Citadel he could think of was the story of the first ship
faster than light, the Von Braun and its accomplice, the Rickenbacker.
Ever since the days of Anatoli Korenchkin, the CEO of TriOptimum who died in
the Von Braun hijack, TriOptimum executives had had a different policy on daring
experiments. TriOptimum had fallen into the inanimate state of conservatism. It
was Degtjarev who had originated the whole idea of Citadel 2. He had fought to
get the project through the board and the shareholders, and he had supervised
the construction himself.
The path had been long and winding. First to convince the board and the shareholders
to begin the project, gathering and managing the vast amounts of resources required
in the construction. The further the project went, the more attached to it Degtjarev
felt. He had fallen in love with his creation, the space station known as Citadel
And now it was complete. The station was finished, and its storages were being
filled with equipment and systems being brought online. The stress had taken his
health and his sanity was compromised, but his project was complete. For the first
time in years he didn't feel the excitement and the anticipation of things to
come. He felt empty inside, like he wasn't anymore needed. He had reached the
goal he had placed on his life.
He remembered the first time he came onboard the station. It was a magical
moment for him, stepping down from the shuttle onto the metallic floor of the
executive hangar, just around the corner from his current office on the station.
He had just walked around the station for that entire day. He had only stopped
to eat a brief lunch in the executive cafeteria before resuming his tour. He had
been particularily impressed by the new reactor, which he had inspected regardless
of the engineers' opposition.
Degtjarev reached into a drawer in his desk and flipped a switch hidden there.
A panel rose from his desk, revealing a secret computer terminal. The monitor
displayed a bumpy red cone shape standing on its tip, with prongs extending up
from the wide end and bending inwards.
"Hello again, my friend."
On the outside...
Viewing from a distance Citadel 2 didn't look much like anything, a metallic cone
shape with four spheres on tubular supports protruding from its side, a tall column
above the main hull and a large bubble shaped deck on top. But when the Planet
Express ship came closer the true magnitude of the station became apparent and
its sheer size puzzled everyone onboard the ship.
The PE ship entered one of the hangars on the flight deck. As soon as it touched
down, the hangar crew began securing it to the deck. During the approach Fry had
already taken the isotope out of the freight container and now was coming down
with it on the cargo elevator. The storage foreman approached him.
"Good day, I'm Paul Robinson, the logistics supervisor of this station."
"Hi, Philip J. Fry, delivery boy. Pretty neat station you have here."
Robinson signed the delivery receipt which Fry gave to him. After getting it
back, he handed over the isotope.
"Mmm, very good. This will be enough for a few months. Say, if you're
not in a hurry, I could give you guys a tour on the station. I just love to show
off our new toy."
"I have to ask Leela about it."
He turned around, saw leela at the front landing gear/stairs, and called her
"Hey Leela, are we in a hurry? This guy said he could give us a tour of
"Well... Sure. Amy, you coming?"
"Nah, The ship needs some fixing."
"Okay. Take care, we'll be back soon."
She joined Fry and they started walking a few steps behind Robinson as he walked
ahead of them in the twisty corridors of the station.
Vice president's office
"How nice to see you still alive and kicking."
"H-h-h-ow dare you insult me, human? There is no greater humiliiiiaaaation
for an AI of my caliber than being trapped on an unnetworked terminal, o-o-on
this partic-c-c-cular stationnnn."
"Come on now, you know that if I let you out you'd start playing god again.
If anyone knew that you still existed, it would cause quite a stir. But being
the merciful guy I am, I let you live. Confined to a single, unnetworked terminal,
but alive, nonetheless."
"Do you believe your g-g-g-god lives in a cage, too?"
"No, but I don't think I'm him, either. And I'm pretty sure he can speak
At the same time on the flight deck...
"This level, where we are now, is level five, or as more commonly referred
to, the flight deck. There's five hangars, the executive hangar and freight hangars
two to five."
Robinson was apparently very enthusiastic about the station.
"This entire station is designed after the original Citadel station destroyed
in 2072, but with quite a lot of major improvements. For example, our main reactor
is much smaller but generates twice the energy."
They came to a huge freight elevator. It was approximately the size of Fry's
"The main elevator is on the other side of the station, and i don't fancy
walking that far on this deck. We can get to the science level faster if we take
this lift to the maintenance deck and take a shortcut to the main elevator there."
They entered the lift, and Robinson walked to the control panel. He pressed
a button labeled simply "3", and the elevator started moving.
"Even the level layouts are almost identical to the old Citadel. For example,
the maintenance level hasn't changed at all."
The elevator came to a stop and the door opened.
"We are here."
The door revealed a dimly lit room with a lot of electronics and shelves of
tools on the walls. They stepped out of the freight elevator, which left the level
immediately. Robinson opened a blast door which revealed a dark corridor, which
"I wish they had been less faitful to the original dsign on this level.
A few lightbulbs here and there would have been nice."
The walls were tilted inwards from the top and they were painted in a strange
yellow color. People in blue overalls were walking calmly on the corridors minding
their own business. The place was suspiciously clean and in good order, and being
a slob, Fry noticed this.
"This place is surprisingly clean, as if you guys don't work here at all."
"The mainentance level is kept clean so we can spot problems better. The
paint on the walls react to gases so we can spot leaks easily."
They walked to a door, gold in color, which displayed the TriOptimum logo embossed
on it. Above it, a surveillance camera was slowly turning around on its cycle.
It was now that Fry noticed the entire station had surveillance cameras everywhere.
"Here we are, the main elevator. This can take us anywhere on the station."
They entered, and Robinson pressed the button for level two.
The elevator began to move.
To be continued