Blame It On The Brain, part 5
Chapter 15: From Eternium With Love
pursued the fleeing spacecraft with a vengeance, calling forth
powerful blasts of energy from within itself and sending them lancing
across the void in spectacular crimson bolts. The destruction of the
Brezhnev had stripped it of its nanites for the time being,
until it could produce more, and the power needed to reassemble
itself had left it weakened. But the changes Onespawn had wrought
within itself remained intact, as did the mysterious quantum flux
that seemed to grow even stronger now.
Momship darted around in three dimensions, jack-knifing to avoid the
devastating psychoplasmic discharges that lit up space like a Freedom
Day parade. Everyone onboard was thrown about violently each time one
of the blasts erupted nearby.
chimpanzee of Tokyo-Three!” Hermes said, clinging to a console.
“We canna take much more of this, mon!”
picked herself up out of Scruffy’s lap and gave the janitor a
perfunctory slap just in case he’d been having any lewd
you shake the damn thing?” she bellowed at the Helmsman.
trying!” Gary Helm replied as he swung the control column hard
over. “It’s matching us move-for-move. I don’t know
what it uses for propulsion, but from the Gs its pulling on some of
those turns, I’d say it could fly rings around us.”
close explosion lifted them from their feet, and Mom found herself in
Scruffy’s lap once again. This time she punched him in the
a punchin’ bag fer angry women,” he grunted. “An’
he finds it strangely arousin’.”
need a diversion,” Mom said. “Something to throw the
bastard off our ass!”
have an idea!” Amy piped-up, and Mom waved her away irritably.
some kind of genetically-engineered albino gorilla fired at the
creature…?” Farnsworth mumbled.
raised her hand. “We could lure it to…”
you little tart!” Mom snapped. “Smart people are
bu, chao ah lian, Li lao bu ho ang moh lang kan
ka seh li zi pu bor kia!” Amy
muttered darkly. The ship took a direct hit, and fountains of sparks
erupted from the bridge consoles.
thought I ordered non-exploding consoles installed!” Mom
there was a sale on these ones…” the Helmsman replied.
Amy spat, and pushed past Mom to a navigation console unaffected by
the pyrotechnics. Hammering in a set of coordinates, she brought the
display up on the main system screen, highlighted in yellow.
stopped yelling at her subordinates and looked up at the screen; it
showed a specific star system.
Persei…” she said slowly, her eyes widening. “Of
course! The stupid little strumpet is onto something – Helm!
Plot a course for Omicron Persei Eight!”
ma’am,” Helm replied.
Momship banked toward Galactic North and Onespawn followed, furiously
firing psychoplasmic energy balls after
the vessel as it went.
Precept, the storehouse of the Lance of Fate, was collapsing.
Leela made it to the ledge with Fry right behind her. He covered the
last few feet in a flying leap as the slender strip of stone bridge
splintered and fell away into the dark abyss.
haste!” Nibbler shouted unnecessarily, and Leela snatched him
up by his cape as, together, the group ran back through the dark
passage. Boulders crashed down around them and a tremendous crackling
roar filled the air as great slabs of rock fractured.
made it to the stairs first and was struck by several rolling stones,
which gathered no moss as they bounced off his metal casing.
it’s gonna take ages to buff those scratches out!” he
be time for buffing later,” Leela shouted. “Right now
we’ve gotta polish… I mean RUN!”
ascended the stairs at a mad dash, dodging rocks that fell toward
them almost unseen in the gloom.
Fry puffed. “Why is it… that everywhere we go…
things always collapse on top of us?”
length, they stumbled up over the top of the staircase, pursued by a
cloud of dust, and lay panting on the floor of the hall of forever.
that was enjoyable,” Leela grumbled sarcastically. “How
about for our next outing we visit the caldera of an active volcano?”
They ground was still rumbling beneath them, and cracks suddenly
spiderwebbed across the marble floor.
not over!” Nibbler shouted.
it again!” Bender added.
fissures opened up in the floor and chunks of pastel-coloured roof
crashed down, the friends bolted and leapt through the gauntlet and
burst out through the doors into the Eternium evening. Behind them,
the hall of forever imploded with a huge crash into a pile of rubble
and then began to subside in a massive sinkhole.
Leela, Bender, and Nibbler stood watching the great collapsed mess of
masonry settle into the wide pit.
billion years,” Nibbler said sadly. “Four billion years
the hall of forever stood…”
come, easy go,” Bender said indifferently.
glanced at Leela, and reached up to gently wipe a smudge of dust from
her cheek. She looked at him and smiled, and a quiet moment of
inexplicable tension passed between them.
look beautiful, even when you’re covered in grime,” Fry
Fry…” Leela blushed.
scratched his head and looked at the ground. “Hey Leela…”
he began hesitantly. “I know you keep saying you only want
friendship with me, and maybe that really is all we could be…
but I was thinking… since we really seem to be on the knife
edge this time around, and the Universe might actually end… if
we somehow do manage to survive, why don’t you and I…”
my God!” Leela shouted suddenly, cutting him off. Her eye went
wide in horrified disbelief.
no – I wasn’t going to say that,” Fry
clarified hurriedly. “I just meant dinner, not the other thing…
unless you wanted to afterward, but that isn’t what I was
driving at… not that I wouldn’t love to…”
Fry – look!” Leela pointed behind him, and he
turned to look. Out over the horizon a swarm of objects filled the
sky, gradually growing larger as they approached, and resolving into
terrifyingly familiar shapes.
Brainspawn,” Nibbler said, bearing his fangs. “They come
to prevent us taking the Lance.”
looked at the ancient weapon still clutched in his hand; its
shimmering field of temporal displacement momentarily reflected his
own face. “I could use it against them now,” he said.
Nibbler replied. “For the Lance to fully recombine the entire
Brainspawn race, it must strike at the prime brain in the collective
hierarchy, that its effects may be linked down to all the others.”
Big Brain,” Leela said, remembering. “That was the
controlling brain Fry fought in the library years ago.”
normal circumstances, yes,” Nibbler said, glaring up at the
approaching horde. “But now a new Brainspawn has ascended to
become more powerful than the Big Brain, or any other of the vile
creatures. It is now the prime.”
mean ‘Onespawn’,” Fry said in realization.
hate to interrupt this expositional narrative,” Bender said,
“but perhaps we ought to be in the process of cheesing it once
friends turned and ran toward the Planet Express ship as the swarm of
brains descended on them. They boarded the ship in a disorganized
clatter of feet, and Leela hurried to the bridge where she set about
take care of the start-up and pre-flight system preps for you, Fry,”
she said as unseen machines hummed into life. “You could manage
takeoff with the programmed steps; after that it’s all just…”
Fry said, looking confused. “Me?”
Fry,” Leela said, turning away from the console and taking him
by the shoulders. “Once the Brainspawn are close enough to
affect us with their stupefaction ray, you’ll be the only one
who… make… Leela feel all warm and cuddly inside!”
make a good point,” Fry said, nodding. “Wait…
Leela grinned vacantly and reached up to tousle Fry’s hair.
“Orange!” she giggled.
gasped in mortification back at the rear of the cabin. “Ogod
ogod ogod!” he cried, clutching at the sides of his head.
“Where are my ears? Where are my ears?!”
oh,” Fry said. He glanced out the window and saw the swarm of
brains much nearer now, projecting long tendrils of blue
stupidifiying energy down towards the ship. He quickly jumped into
the pilot seat, laying the Lance of Fate on the floor beside him, and
hit the landing gear button. The ship’s feet retracted, and it
fell down hard on its belly with a crash.
Fry grunted, thumbing the antigravs and easing back on the control
column. With jerky motions, the Planet Express ship lunged up into
the air. The Brainspawn followed close behind and began clustering
around the little green freighter, bumping against the hull and
shoving it with telekinetic impulses.
made a muffled choking sound as he caught the stalk of his third eye
and tried to swallow it.
want what he’s eating!” Leela sulked.
paused with his hand on the dark matter lever and glanced at the
Brainspawn in the rear view mirror.
about to suffer severe brain-damage,” he drawled
in his best action-hero voice, and then grimaced when he realized the
others were too stupid to appreciate his wit. He pushed the lever
down and the PE ship shot forward, its main drive exhaust blowing
numerous Brainspawn to pieces.
dark matter burn within the constraints of an atmosphere set off a
cacophony of load warnings as the ship’s outer skin heated up
and began to ablate from the massive friction. Then it flew free of
Eternium’s atmosphere, and Fry located the terminus of the
spiderhole in a distant elliptical orbit of the system’s star.
He plotted a course toward it, taking them into the lee of an
the other three returned to their senses and looked around in
feeling… a bit better in… capacity for abstract
postulation,” Leela said slowly. “Fry – you did
and I told the Brainspawn: ‘you’re about to suffer
we’re home free?” Bender interrupted.
quite,” Nibbler said, pointing to the forward screen. Ahead in
space, a hazy cloud was growing, separating into individual objects
as the distance closed. Swimming into stark clarity…
you gotta be bendin’ me…” Bender muttered.
half of the Brainspawn horde was poised between them and the
problem,” Fry said with grim determination. “I’ll
just brawn my way through these brains and we’ll…”
cut off by the crackle of the communications system coming to life,
Fiona appeared through static interference and glowered at them all.
Nibbler!” she commanded. “Instruct your pet humans to
turn their ship around, or we will be forced to fire upon you.”
As if on
cue, long-range sensors chimed, indicating a mass of small contacts
emerging from behind the heavily-cratered moonlet. The Nibblonian
second fleet began to close on them from behind.
between the Nibblonians and the Brainspawn,” Fry muttered.
“What would MacGyver do?” Struck with sudden inspiration,
he pulled a paperclip, a shoelace, and a bottletop out of his pocket
and stared at them for a moment. “Damn,” he said. “If
only I had a cigarette lighter.”
stared sadly up at Fiona’s image
cannot comply,” he said. “What must be, must be.”
not be a fool,” Fiona said. “We can annihilate you
utterly – you know this.”
to die in the pursuit of what is right than live under the shadow of
what is wrong,” Nibbler replied.
Bender raised a hand. “I, for one, do not share that opinion.”
looked conflicted. “I do not wish to do this,” she said.
“Please turn back now – return the lance. I do not want
to destroy you…”
it,” Nibbler said. “Shoot us down, and then ask yourself
- of what worth are all our yesterdays if we, in the hour of our
final reckoning, discard that last shining inch of ourselves that
defines us – our honour and our cause, the small fragile thing
that is more important than anything in this Universe we’ve
sworn to protect? To embrace the vile, the tainted…?”
Nibbler had riled himself to a near-religious fervour, and he
continued, clenching his paws into little fists: “What would we
tell those who have gone before us?” he said. “Those,
whose toil prepared our path, guided us to this moment in time when
the strength of our will and the substance of our being are called
upon one last time… what would we tell them?”
stared at him over the comm. link, her face awash with unknowable
emotion. Finally, she sighed. “We would tell them how ashamed
we are,” she admitted.
Nibbler said. The link went dead. Leela and Bender glanced at each
other, and Fry looked bewildered.
what just happened?” he asked. “Is she going to blow us
shall know soon enough,” Nibbler replied grimly.
The pursuing Nibblonian fleet drew closer as the Planet Express ship
continued on toward the Brainspawn blockade. Hundreds of little
saucer-shaped ships deployed their weapons systems in preparation,
moving in for the kill.
“Maybe someone should man the laser cannon,” Leela said
“There would be little point,” Nibbler replied.
Still, the fleet came on, and still no shots were fired. A dense
atmosphere of tense expectation filled the cabin as all four of them
watched the radar monitor.
“What the hell are they waiting for?” Bender muttered.
Suddenly, the fleet decreased speed and began to fall back, and the
four friends breathed a collective sigh of relief.
“Thankyou,” Nibbler said quietly. Perhaps Fiona would
still follow her own course, but for now she was willing to allow
Nibbler some rein to follow his… maybe only as a last-ditch
ace in the hole, but it was something at least.
“We aren't outta the mangroves yet,” Fry noted, pointing
at the Brainspawn ahead. The brains were apparently undaunted by the
Nibblonians’ change of heart, and closed ranks in front of the
PE ship, projecting a dense field of stupidity.
guys, time for a little brainstorming,” he said
with a grin. Nobody laughed, and he looked around to see Leela
clutching a drooling Nibbler like a teddy-bear and sucking her thumb,
while Bender tried (with limited success) to climb inside his own
chest compartment. The others were again afflicted with total idiocy.
nuts,” Fry muttered, turning back to the control column. “All
my best material and nobody to dig it…” He piloted the
ship right into the midst of the Brainspawn, slamming heedlessly into
scores of bloated pink blobs. The Brainspawn responded by buffeting
the PE ship with telekinetic pulses, attempting to throw it
offcourse, but Fry smoothly adjusted the controls the way Leela had
been teaching him and weaved through the onslaught.
flew on toward the looming purple maelstrom of the interdimensional
spiderhole, the Brainspawn matched pace, swarming around the ship and
it!” Fry said through clenched teeth as he and the others were
thrown left and right.
ride!” Nibbler squealed with delight, kicking his legs.
spiderwebs of negative matter shot past on all sides, and the event
horizon approached, shimmering and shifting.
suddenly snuggled up alongside Fry, resting her head in the crook of
his neck. “Me love Fry,” she said.
the desperate situation and the vast cataclysmic rift in spacetime
that loomed seconds away, Fry momentarily broke his concentration to
look at her in surprise.
hit the spiderhole, and everything stretched beyond the point of
comprehension, before snapping back violently. The ship hurtled
through the Einstein-Rosen Bridge, tumbling end-over end with Fry
struggling frantically to right the trajectory and prevent the little
vessel slamming into the deadly edge of the interdimensional tunnel.
Brainspawn followed, nudging the PE ship, trying to knock it into the
negative matter. Fry responded by broadsiding the ship into a group
of the creatures and sending them flashing into radioactive doom when
they impacted the edge of the spiderhole.
strain your brain,” Fry muttered. He looked ahead, and saw for
a brief instant a colossal shape move against the surface of the
spiderhole’s wall. Then it was gone, phasing out of visibility,
but the image of multiple legs hundreds of thousand of miles long
gave him the ghost of an idea. He steered the ship toward the side of
the swirling tunnel of energy, with the Brainspawn close behind, and
switched on the ship’s high-beam headlights.
bolts of esoteric energy stabbed out from the wall of the spiderhole
as the PE ship flew dangerously close by. The powerful headlights
stirred up random disturbances in the torrents of negative energy,
until something finally appeared in front of the ship, roused by the
commotion. It reared into existence, larger than the mind could
fathom – its cluster of multi-faceted eyes rising up like a
of the spiderhole was agitated.
pulled the ship up, soaring over the giant interdimensional
arachnid’s moon-sized head. The pursuing Brainspawn hesitated,
suddenly finding themselves facing one of the mightiest creatures in
Spider. Kumonga. Anansi the Trickster. The Weaver. Tsuchigumo. It had
many names in many places, but no legend could ever do justice to a
creature of such immense terrible majesty. As the little green
spaceship flew the length of the creature’s vast abdomen and
away behind it, the giant spider regarded the tiny swarm of flying
brains and decided it didn’t like them.
its world-sized form up into the centre of the Einstein-Rosen Bridge,
it angled gargantuan spinnerets at the Brainspawn and fired
million-mile-long strands of negative matter webbing. Each of the
brains struck by the strands erupted into bursts of pure energy that
filled the spiderhole with incandescent light. The survivors turned
and fled they way they had come.
Planet Express ship burst from the spiderhole terminus and fell
almost instantly into the maw of the second. After an intermittent
time, it emerged once again into real space, and Fry burnt dark
matter at a rapid rate to put as much distance as he could between
the ship and whatever might be following. A sheen of nervous
perspiration covered his face.
others had returned to their standard level of intelligence and were
looking out the windows for signs of pursuit.
like you got us through,” Leela said to Fry. “Good work.”
was a no-brainer,” Fry replied, naturally. Leela
chuckled, and he sighed in relief.
Chapter 16: Spit and Wishes
Elaine and Kramer were seated in their usual booth in the coffee shop
when George appeared, looking even more downbeat than usual.
Georgie!” Kramer said.
and Elaine offered their greetings as George slumped down silently
next to Elaine.
the matter?” Jerry asked across the table.
shook his head and slowly responded: “My mother caught me…”
you? Doing what?”
know…” The others gave him blank stares, and he
continued reluctantly. “I was alone…”
made a surprised face. “You mean…!?”
laughed. “She caught you?”
nudged the television with one massive webbed foot to try to improve
the ancient reception, and settled back to watch.
seen this rerun too many times,” Ndnd declared, folding her
a classic,” Lrrr rumbled menacingly. You’ll watch it
again and you’ll ENJOY it!”
continued his story. “…First she screams, ‘George,
what are you doing?! My God!’ And it looked like she was gonna
faint - she started clutching the wall, trying to hang onto it.”
Kramer said reflectively.
didn't know whether to try and keep her from falling, or zip up.”
did you do?” Jerry asked in fascination.
zipped up!” George replied.
leaned close to Ndnd and muttered: “As the most powerful of
them, I do not understand why the one called Kramer does not merely
seize control of Manhattan Island in a brutal bloodbath and declare
it a breakaway fortress-state.”
he is concealing his true ambition until a time of his choosing,”
Ndnd suggested. “The same way you try to conceal that gut of
growled. “Well you…” he said, trying to think of a
biting comeback. “…Shut up.”
moment a palace servant entered the chamber and bowed low.
Excellencies of Divine and Immaculate Wisdom, whose Grace and Valour
are an Eternal…”
yes!” Lrrr snapped irritably. “What cataclysm could
warrant interrupting NBC’s primetime lineup?”
me!” the servant grovelled. “The long-range defensive
array has tracked two large objects entering the system on course for
our Great and Magnificent homeworld.”
wonderful!” Lrrr growled, pushing himself to his feet
and stomping over to the entrance. “My one night of free time,
one final glance at the TV where Jerry, George, and Kramer were
watching the naked woman in the apartment block across the street,
and then with a sigh he stomped out.
some milk and bread on the way back!” Ndnd called out.
beaten… with great scorched rends torn in its hull plating,
struggled on its erratic course toward the eight planet of Omicron
Persei. Behind it, glowing with livid fury, came Onespawn. The
gargantuan brain had resorted to projecting occasional waves of
quantum reality displacement that rippled across the void in
expanding spheres of weird unreal energy.
wave passed through the Momship, making the vessel and everyone
onboard twist and bulge into crazy distorted shapes. Then reality
snapped back again and they returned to normal.
that doesn’t bode well,” Farnsworth said, looking
somewhat mortified by the distortion.
does it mean?” Mom asked.
means that Wernstrom… Wernstrom was telling the truth,”
the Professor replied. “With the ability to directly interfere
with quantum states, the creature has the potential to literally
unmake the Universe!”
wave passed through them, and Mom was suddenly joined by seven
duplicates of herself which looked at each other in bewilderment
before fusing back together into one very confused whole.
she said uncertainly, as the unreal resonances faded. “Well
perhaps the Omicronians will have better luck blasting the damn thing
– here they come!” She pointed out the main screen, where
an armada of massive city-killer ships had departed Omicron Persei
VIII’s orbit and were moving on an intercept course.
do we know they won’t blow us up too?” Hermes asked
literary convention?” Scruffy offered.
broadwave transmission was picked up by the ship’s
communication system, and Lrrr appeared onscreen, slightly out of
slime!” he bellowed. “I am Lrrr, ruler of Omicron Persei
Eight, addressing those fools who dare to attack the homeworld of the
Omicronians!” He paused to hurriedly adjust the camera so that
his face was centred, but it fell over and he resorted to holding it
steady by hand. “…Lousy piece of crap webcam,” he
muttered, and then continued in his commanding roar. “Hear me
now! You have ten seconds to surrender and be destroyed – or we
will destroy you!”
message ended, and the Helmsman went pale, going rigid at the
controls as he calculated velocities and trajectories.
is going to take some serious kutzpa,” Helm said.
bridge of the Omicronian command vessel, Lrrr watched the Momship
not even changing course,” he muttered in amusement to an aide.
launchers on all the frontline saucer ships opened up simultaneously,
hurling ultravelocity kinetic harpoons across the void at
near-lightspeed. The Momship’s sensors picked up the mass of
relativistic projectiles eating up the distance between them at a
hau!” Amy said, wringing her hands in fright.
for it,” Mom said through gritted teeth as the deadly harpoons
drew dangerously near. “Wait…”
last moment, Helm banked hard, pulling more Gs than the ship’s
structural specifications allowed for. The superstructure groaned and
creaked in metal anguish, but the big ship managed to corkscrew away
from the path of the kinetic harpoons, which flashed past and
slam into Onespawn’s unexpecting flank.
brilliant explosion lit up space.
Fry and Nibbler flickered briefly.
almost unnoticeable, just a passing of out-of-focus translucence, and
then they were solid again, looking around in confusion. On the
floor, the Lance of Fate flared suddenly bright, and pulsed with
“What was that?” Fry wondered, getting up from the command chair.
“Onespawn flexing its muscle again,” Nibbler replied.
“It hardly affected you at all this time,” Leela said hopefully.
“Do you think it’s becoming less powerful?”
the opposite,” Nibbler said grimly. “Only now we are now
protected by the temporal-morphic field of the Lance.”
that’s handy,” Fry said. He picked up the Lance and
noticed that the deck beneath where it had lain was now a rough patch
of unprocessed iron ore, looking like it was freshly-dug from the
quarry. Slowly it transformed, progressing back through the process
of smelting and refinement to solidify to its normal state of smooth
Fry said quietly. “I could turn yoghurt back into milk…”
Bender said. “No wait – the other thing, mind-numbing.
I’m gonna shut down for a while – any of you losers tries
to wake me, I’ll hit you with a bottle.” With that, he
went still and closed his eye shield.
I might turn in too, Fry said, tucking the Lance of Fate under one
arm and heading for the door. “Don’t let me sleep through
the end of the Universe.” He left Leela and Nibbler alone on
the bridge, with the exclusion of Bender’s immobile form.
down, deep in thought, and remained so for several minutes before
turning to regard Nibbler contemplatively.
Fry uses the Lance of Fate against Onespawn,” she said, “then
it and the entire Brainspawn race will be absorbed and fused with the
is so,” Nibbler replied.
then what happens to Fry?” Leela asked. “He’s
connected to you all, and he’ll be at the centre of the storm…
so what will become of him?” She looked worried, and stared at
Nibbler imploringly, hoping for a dismissive laugh, or a waving-away
of such silly concerns.
Nibbler looked away uncomfortably. “I do not know,” he
blinked in surprise, and then felt a slight stab of unreasoning
anger. “You don’t know?” she said in disbelief.
“You know every damn thing else – why not that?”
Nibbler met her gaze levelly. “The great fracture that gave
rise to the Brainspawn and Nibblonians as separate races also pulled
the fabric of reality taut and thin… in some places glued
together. Our actions and fates are often not our own… surely
you have felt it? Times when your course seems directed by the hand
of some failed unoriginal writer, when events resemble something
familiar you cannot define…? The borders that bound our
Universe are weakened; other Universes are pressing against this one,
pushing us this way and that into the shape of other worlds and other
people… and to be completely honest with you…” He
lowered his voice. “It’s really all held together by spit
and wishes these days, because nobody has ever taken responsibility
for setting it right. I am consistently amazed when tomorrow even
manages to follow today; so as for what will happen to Fry, I won’t
even hazard a guess.”
stared at him blankly. She was too tired for metaphysics, quantum
physics, or even regular physics – her eye was red-rimmed and
her patience was short.
things will come to an end,” Nibbler went on. “At one
point, Fry will be the lynchpin upon which the future turns.
What happens after that may depend, to some extent, on him…
and that’s all I can say.”
he die?” Leela said.
leaned back and ran her fingers through her purple hair. “Does
he know?” she asked quietly, tiredly.
suspects, I think,” Nibbler said.
we have no choice…” Leela closed her eye, and a single
tear escaped the lid, spilling down her cheek.
cabin, Fry stood naked before the mirror and looked upon the dark
stigma that had spread around his torso and begun to creep down both
legs. The sense of impending inevitability hung heavy upon him, as
dark as the swirling marks on his skin.
of Fate, leaning against the wall, seemed to resonate in sympathy. He
looked at it and sighed, rolling onto his hammock and staring at the
much time do we have left?” he murmured to the Universe in
bridge, Leela drifted into an uneasy sleep, wracked by disturbing
dreams. Nibbler adjusted the ship’s autopilot course to take
them toward their appointment with finality.
eyes were set hard in determination.
tumbled end-over-end, superheated plasma radiating from the enormous
wound in its frontal lobe where the relativistic harpoons had struck.
Gathering its fragmented thought processes, it righted itself and
turned to face the Omicronian armada.
propelled itself forward into the midst of the advancing Omicronian
warships and expanded its stupefaction field. The big saucer ships
began to fly erratically and fire off random bursts from their
and weakened, Onespawn did not linger to enact vengeance. It needed
time to heal, to replenish energy and further strengthen itself.
While the alien battleships flew about like gigantic Frisbees with
death-rays crashing into one another, Onespawn left the area at high
vessel it had pursued was apparently gone.
Momship, having escaped the immediate vicinity of Omicronian wrath
and Onespawn’s fury, now ran silent and distant, keeping pace
with the wounded brain as it sought safety somewhere away from the
running scared,” Mom said, standing on the bridge of the ship.
“Readings indicate the energistic displacement surrounding it
has dropped significantly – those impacts have weakened it.”
it bleeds,” Scruffy said, “we can kill it.”
no, no,” the Helmsman said. “We’re flying on a wing
and a prayer here. The ship’s all banged up to hell, and none
of you really have any idea how much fight that thing has left in
your filthy spamhole!” Mom snapped. “This is the best
chance we’ve had yet – we can’t afford not to use
this opportunity to cram a nuke right up that thing’s…”
she paused. “Where do you cram things up a brain?”
Medulla Oblongata,” Hermes said.
some prudence would serve us well at this point,” Farnsworth
said. “By observing the ‘Onespawn’ from a distance,
you might delay our pointless deaths long enough for me to figure out
a way to actually do some good.”
think you have something, you senile idiot?” Mom said.
but it isn’t contagious so don’t get all Howard Hughes
to do with Onespawn?” Mom gritted her teeth.
at all, and I resent the implication,” Farnsworth said. “I
do, however, have an idea about Onespawn that may prove useful, oh my
that is?” Mom asked.
Farnsworth replied. “It is.” He wandered away muttering
to himself and Mom was left looking bewildered.
length, she turned to one of her underlings. “Maintain this
distance, dammit,” she said. “We’ll play it safe
and see what time avails us.”
terminus of the spiderhole the combined Nibblonian/Brainspawn attack
force finally emerged, and then diverged, the Brainspawn separating
to avoid the screeching thoughts of their counterparts.
bridge of the Nibblonian command vessel, Fiona gazed out into space
have a course laid in for the enemy’s location,” a
navigator informed her, with a bitter edge to his voice.
she said. “With any luck we should be able to prevent the
Mighty One’s interference and end this affair in a way that
preserves the status-quo.”
the Big Brain’s voice said over the communications link. “We
shall face this shared threat together if we must, but after that –
all deals are off.”
races moved, for the first time, as one toward a common goal.
Travelling at enhanced lightspeed, they zeroed in on the destination
that spacetime distortions marked out in their unique senses as the
focal point of a tremendous knot in reality.
...They went together to confront Onespawn.
Chapter 17: Gone with the Solar Wind
the physical exhaustion, Fry was unable to sleep. Strange thoughts
and imaginings kept flickering in his mind like a pilot light, never
extinguishing; which was an unfamiliar state for a man to whom the
old Buddhist ideal of emptying one’s mind of conscious thought
normally came as naturally as breathing.
vision of Leela’s skeleton featured prominently –
although mortality was no mystery to him, the image still caused a
sharp-edged sliver of terror to stab into his soul. He couldn’t
imagine a world without Leela; her strength and beauty were Universal
constants, like gravity and shoddy service in fast-food restaurants.
maudlin thoughts were of a variety he could usually shake off, drink
away, or encase in a sarcophagus of stupidness. But things felt
different now; more real, more serious – the violence
and angst of the past few days had been unlike any of his previous
episodes… escapades? There was a distinct sense that time was
limited… he felt it in his marrow, and in the cosmic stigma
that slowly consumed him. Finality, completion; The End of All
Things. How much time was left for him to right the wrongs in his
life before it all became academic? Days? Hours?
from the hammock, he donned clothes and padded out of the room, down
the hall, and onto the bridge. Bender still stood in a dormant
inactive state, while Nibbler had disappeared somewhere. Fry walked
forward to look at the stars, but paused when he noticed Leela asleep
in the command chair, making small whimpering sounds as her eyelid
trembled – some bad dream was being painted across the canvas
of her mind, and he almost considered waking her, but she had been
exhausted and needed to rest.
she was so beautiful, so amazing. What were the odds that he could
fall through a thousand years of empty time and awaken in a presence
of a Goddess such as her?
He reached down and brushed a few errant strands of purple hair from
her face, and she seemed to relax at his touch, sighing contentedly.
supposed that if Leela were in his place now she wouldn’t be as
uncertain as him – she wouldn’t stand around waiting for
events to pull her in one direction or another. She would take charge
of her destiny… something Fry was rarely able to do. Hell, he
had trouble taking charge of his shoelaces (unfortunately a thousand
years in the future Velcro was still considered dorky).
away and walked over to the forward viewscreen, where he stood with
his hands in his pockets, gazing out at the cosmos. Stars that might
have witnessed the birth and death of billions of souls within their
warm embrace fled past the little ship in the blink of an eye;
incandescent multicoloured nebula drifted by, tens of old-light years
long, where suns and worlds were being created; icy comets, immense
tumbling asteroids, and… and a million other things Fry had no
name for. The idea that he might have the ability to save it all
could so easily have inflated his ego to a celestial size, and at
another time being ‘the most important person in the Universe’
had seemed like the greatest thing ever.
now… now he was only frightened. And where had that
fear come from? That biting sense of realism had never afflicted him
before… it was as if he’d jumped from a sitcom into a
drama, and was still struggling to keep up.
woken soundlessly and watched Fry now, as he looked out at the stars.
Her lips were dry as she thought of a thousand different things she
wanted to say and none of the words with which to say them. The
conversation she’d had with Nibbler kept playing back in her
mind again and again – the thought of Fry’s ultimate fate
made her skin crawl. She’d had a nightmare of a life without
him once while in a coma, and the utter pointlessness of that world
caused such despair… she couldn’t take it. Their shared
history seemed to flow through her mind, all the times they’d
spent together, all the hardships and all the warmth… and his
face, always there with a lopsided grin and some stupid beautiful
comment to make everything seem alright.
don’t deserve him…
kept him at arm’s length, but he’d stayed with her
regardless. How could she spurn that kind of devotion time and time
again, and still keep him in her life? It must have been torture for
so heartless? she wondered. No… I’ve needed him,
just like he needs me… only I’ve never been able to
admit it, not like him.
course, that was the difference between them, she decided. Fry wasn’t
afraid to open himself wide to the slings and arrows of the world.
That blameless honesty that kept him coming back again and again
after all the rejections… Leela envied it. She envied his
She stood quietly and walked over to him, still unsure of what to
Fry said in surprise when she appeared beside him. “I’m
sorry, did I wake you?”
Leela said, taking in the view through the screen. “Sure is
beautiful,” she said softly. “I fly through space all the
time, but I never really see it, you know? I don’t stop
and really look at it… it’s just something that
passes me by.”
a vague nod, not really understanding.
you do see it, don’t you?” Leela went on, still staring
out into the stars. “You see things that other people have
taught themselves to ignore, to push aside because there’s
always something else to do. You see everything the way it is, with
eyes wide open… and here’s me, with only one eye –
seems fitting that I’ve only ever seen half the picture.”
Fry looked concerned. “I… I don’t really know what
you’re talking about,” he said. “Did I do something
wrong? Is this about what I left in the washbasin? Because I was
going to clean…”
you know what’s going to happen when we get to Onespawn?”
Leela turned to face him seriously. “Philip,” she
said, for perhaps the first time ever. “I don’t want you
to pass me by like all that space out there… I don’t…
want to have lost you without ever choosing to see you for what you
taken aback more by the unprecedented outpouring of emotion than the
taboo usage of his given name. In the half-light, he could see
moisture glistening in Leela’s eye.
“Hey,” he said, gently taking her by the shoulders. “It’s
okay… you’re not gonna lose me. You couldn’t if
you wanted to – I’m like a bad case of head-lice: you
think I’m gone, but then the eggs hatch and there’s more
of me crawling around in there.” He made a creepy-crawly with
his hand and rustled Leela’s hair playfully to try to cheer her
bottom lip trembled, and suddenly she was pressed against him,
burying her face in his shoulder and sobbing quietly.
Fry,” she sobbed. “Please don’t die. I couldn’t
take that… not again.”
Fry wrapped his arms around her and held her tight. He could have
told her again that it would all be okay, that he’d be fine and
they would all go home happily… but he didn’t know that.
And he didn’t want to lie, not to her.
wish you weren’t the Mighty One,” Leela said, her words
muffled by his shoulder. “I wish you were just my Fry, the
silly funny Philip Fry who I love… not the hope of the
Universe, just mine…”
wish that too…”
looked up to meet his gaze, her tear-streaked face inches from his.
“I know this is something we have no choice in,” she said
in a husky voice. “And I’ll go along with you, every step
of the way… but I…” She pulled away and stood
with her back to him, trembling slightly.
alright Leela,” Fry said. “Really…”
not alright,” she replied. “I’ve treated you badly.
We’re not just friends, Fry. We’re more than that. A lot
turned back to regard him. “I didn’t want us to go into…
whatever we’re about to go into… without telling you I
love you.” Leela straightened as if a great weight had been
lifted from her. “I do love you,” she said. “With
all my heart.”
lost for words, but he didn’t need any. Leela took hold of his
jacket and pulled him close, planting her lips against his.
believing what was happening, Fry returned the kiss, holding her
close. At the back of the cabin Nibbler watched silently from his
nest in Bender’s chest cabinet. With a satisfied nod, he gently
shut the door, giving the two humans their privacy.
Fry said when they finally broke contact. “I love you so much,
I always have… but if this is about me maybe dying… I
mean, if you just feel obliged… like that time we thought
Zoidberg was dying so we stopped throwing darts at him for a while…”
not about obligation,” she whispered. “I want this. And
besides – I’m not going to let you do anything alone.
We’ll fight together, Fry. And if it’s gotta be that way,
we’ll die together.” She kissed him again to stifle the
protest that rose on his tongue.
brushed you off so many times,” she continued when she pulled
away. “It’s because… romance to me has always
meant a long chain of disappointment and heartache, nothing like the
connection I share with you. It’s so different…
something pure and wonderful, so I was always terrified at the idea
of changing it, of making you another lover who will hurt me, haunt
won’t,” Fry said. “I would never…”
know,” Leela said. “I see you now, as you are. And I’m
pulled her back toward him and kissed her hungrily, losing himself in
her scent, the softness of her lips, the contours of her body pressed
against his… In the midst of a nightmare, a dream had come
true – and nothing was going to interrupt this moment…
except the sudden urgent chiming of the communications system.
awoke with a start at the loud call alert, opening his eye shield to
see Fry and Leela looking a little flustered and red-faced at the
other end of the cabin.
one of you morons gonna answer that?” he said, waving at the
comm. console that was flashing red.
right,” Leela said, adjusting her hair and winking at Fry (her
single eye made the process of winking somewhat redundant and wasted
on the observer, a fact she’d never actually realized). She
made her way to the comm. console and keyed the incoming call onto
the main screen.
screen came to life, the three of them gasped in unison, and Nibbler
poked his head out of Bender’s chest compartment to hiss
well, fancy meeting you bastards out here,” Mom said, glaring
down at them.
moved through tumbling great mountains of rock and ore.
asteroid field was vast, and with the new nanomachines being produced
within itself, the creature absorbed and converted the abundant raw
matter at a rapid pace, using the new mass to repair the damage it
had sustained and further boost its strength and capabilities.
resonated from the giant brain in waves as it seethed still, over the
pestering attacks it had suffered through. Death had never held any
great fear for the creature before, but with its newfound ascendance
to individuality and overlordship, it finally had something to lose.
External threats instilled a much greater terror than they ever had
before when it had been part of the collective.
there were other causes for concern…
across the cosmos like the quantum equivalent of distant thunder on
an open plain, the return of the Brainspawn had caused Onespawn to
pause and shudder. The questing minds of its fellows probed
tentatively across the void; searching, pushing… Onespawn
repelled them, unwilling to be subsumed back into the hierarchy, but
knew that they would soon attack in force to prevent further
dissolution of their quantum structure by Onespawn’s
prepare for such an eventuality, but one unexpected element gave even
greater cause for concern. From the moment the Mighty One had laid
his hands upon the Lance of Fate the gentle ripple of temporal waves
had lapped on the shore of reality, almost imperceptibly, but it did
not escape the creature’s notice.
would Onespawn have expected the Nibblonians to forsake their
manifest selves and deploy that final, unthinkable trump card.
perhaps they hadn’t… Perhaps the orange-haired fool was
acting of his own volition. Whatever the case, the Lance was nearby
now, Onespawn could sense it… and so it hastened to prepare
Momship and the Planet Express ship converged and cruised
side-by-side, a long distance away from where the damaged Onespawn
lumbered through an asteroid field, consuming mass to replenish
Mom said into the communications monitor when the facts had been
ascertained, “while I’ve been here trying to kill this
damn monster, you idiots were out joyriding through the Universe in
search of some stupid magic weapon?”
the cyclops woman snapped through the short-wave communications link.
“Don’t try to make out like this mess is anyone’s
fault but yours!”
to hell, eyeball!” Mom snapped.
a reference to my prominent mutation?” Leela said. “How
very creative of you. While you’re exercising that brilliant
streak, maybe you could dream up a way to get at Onespawn without it
got Farnsworth working on that, you wench!” Mom snarled.
have the Professor?!” Leela said, aghast.
off the comm. link abruptly and strode forward to stare out at the
asteroid field where the gargantuan brain formed a discernible knot
of mass amid the planetary debris.
waiting for us,” she murmured. “Damn thing just wants us
to make a move…”
one side, Amy, Hermes, and Scruffy sat together, feeling like spare
pawns in a chess set.
do they call it ‘it’,” Amy wondered absently.
you talkin’ ‘bout, Miss Wong?” Hermes grunted
giant brain thing… they keep saying ‘it’.”
maybe it’s a boy, or a girl. Why ‘it’?”
grunted. “Brains ain’t got no genitals,” he said.
“Maybe if it were a flyin’ crotch we’d know better
what to call it.”
crotches are extinct, mon,” Hermes reminded him.
in the Momship’s extensive workshop, Professor Farnsworth
finished the final components in his creation and stepped back to
admire it. The simple elegance and splendour of the machine was
something to behold. At that moment, he considered it his single
It was a
reverse-microwave oven. It had one purpose – to take a
prepared meal and un-cook it, reducing it back to a cold
in the current situation: zero to nil.
that’s finished with,” he muttered to himself, “I’d
better start dealing with this ‘Onespawn’ problem I
suppose…” He tapped away at a computer keyboard for a
few moments and then stood back. “There, done.”
Leela, Bender, and Nibbler looked out through the scuffed chainglass
windows of the Planet Express ship to where the great enemy sat in
wait, out in the slowly drifting mass of gigantic rocks.
what now?” Leela asked, glancing down at Nibbler. “How do
we get to it?”
am not entirely certain,” Nibbler said. “This part has
always been… theoretical.”
you’re just a useless little ball of crap!” Bender lifted
a foot to stomp on Nibbler, but Leela pushed him over.
we’ve got to think of something,” she said, putting her
hands on her hips. “There must be some way we can get through
the stupefaction ray and…”
is another problem in this arena…” Nibbler said. “In
stopped listening. As his friends continued examining the lack of
options, he slipped quietly away, leaving the bridge and walking
through the ship’s corridors, ducking into his cabin as he went
to retrieve the Lance. Leela’s words about fighting and dying
together came back to him, and he thought about her plunging herself
into danger… by his side, because they always stuck together,
this time,” he said to himself. He would face this danger
alone. After all, he was the only one who could. Leela didn’t
have to risk herself – he could end it, finally and completely…
into the ship’s airlock chamber and hurriedly struggled into
one of the worn and scratched utility spacesuits that was hanging on
a rack. He clipped on the bulky manoeuvring harnesses, and tied the
Lance of Fate to one of the equipment loops with a length of tether
before finally fitting the bubble helmet over his head and sealing it
in place. The suit’s autonomous systems came online, recycled
air pumping around the helmet, temperature dispersal tubes cooling
his body, and electromuscle bands massaging his circulatory system to
maintain good bloodflow in zero-G.
bulky gloved hand, he turned the manual controls on the inner door of
the airlock, letting himself inside the narrow passage and shutting
it behind him, before moving to the outer door and pushing it open.
The autotint on the suit’s helmet darkened to protect his eyes
from the glare of nearby stars, allowing him to look out on the
sprawling majesty of space.
stepped out of the airlock, and exited the effective zone of the
ship’s gravity pump. Sudden intense vertigo threatened to
overtake him as it always did in sudden freefall, but he slowed his
breathing as Leela had taught him, and turned to focus on the grimy
dented hull of the ship as a solid reference point in three
dimensions. When his pulse slowed, he burped the manoeuvring jets to
align himself in a headfirst trajectory toward the asteroid field in
he said to himself. “Here goes…”
the control thrusters up to full-power, he shot away on a column of
chemical flame toward Onespawn, the Lance of Fate strapped to his
side and a gleam in his eye that could have been heroic resolution
but was probably just feverish terror.
Chapter 18: The Spawn Identity
Farnsworth hurried onto the bridge of the Momship, everyone present
turned to look at him expectantly, as though waiting for him to
perform some miraculous conjuring trick.
“Have you come up with a way to deal with this thing?”
“Oh my no,” Farnsworth said. “I've been too busy
coming up with a way to deal with this thing. Now get out of my way,
Mom looked around at the others - nobody was standing in the old
“That's better!” he snapped, striding forward to hunch
over the communications station. “I had the idea while I was on
the toilet. Earlier I monitored the creature’s brainwave
patterns and noticed how fluid they are – how susceptible to
external influence… like how a weak bladder can be triggered
by the sound of running water… oh yes…”
nothing, waiting for him to get to the point.
can tell it a story…” Farnsworth said, still inspecting
the communications console. “…And in so doing, trap it
within the mental realm of fantasy.”
a pile o’ rotten sugar cane!” Hermes snapped from the
back of the cabin. “Don’t waste everyone’s time you
crazy old fool!”
up!” Mom said. “Farnsworth – explain it properly.”
it’s quite simple really. Fiction can form the basis of a
self-sustaining internal delusion in the creature – it’s
been done before, apparently. By using the recorded brain pattern
readings of a comatose person from the ship’s database as the
carrier signal, I’ve adjusted the communications array to
project a story directly into Onespawn’s mind.”
story?” Mom repeated. “You mean that literally? ‘Once
upon a time,’ that sort of thing?”
yes!” Farnsworth said. “As focused on destruction as the
Brainspawn are, your team’s initial studies as well as my own
observations have shown the creature to be remarkably tied to
convention in their thought processes – a structured narrative
is something that can’t be ignored… oh my no, especially
not when it’s a talented writer with compelling
we write a story… and the creature will be trapped within its
confines?” The Professor nodded and smiled in a manner most
senile, and Mom shook her head in incredulity – reality, it
seemed, was far stranger than fiction.
had better start writing it quickly!” Amy said, pointing toward
the viewscreen. “Whoever that is won’t stand a chance
unless we distract the brain.”
space, they could see a small space-suited figure rocket away from
the nearby Planet Express ship and down toward the asteroid field
where Onespawn lay in wait.
must be Fry, that stupid prehistoric Neanderthal,” Farnsworth
muttered. “He’s going to get himself killed, and I’ll
have to hire a real delivery boy who’ll demand payment
above minimum wage, dammit!”
– help him!” Mom snapped. “Write something, you
stupid old bastard!”
looked down at the comm. station’s illuminated keypad and
hesitated, wracking his brain for an opening line.
he scratched his head and looked around for inspiration. Writer’s
block suddenly gummed-up his brain.
on – what are you waiting for?”
up!” he snapped. “I can’t write with the burden of
deadlines weighing me down! You’re just like those insufferable
publishing executives at Macmillan – always crushing my
Scruffy stood up and walked over, shoving Farnsworth out of the way.
is Scruffy’s time to shine,” the janitor grunted, sitting
down at the comm. station and smoothing his moustache with theatrical
flourish. “Maybe Scruffy’s novel’s sittin’
unpublished in a dusty desk draw – but he can still write twice
as good as any of the hacks out in the market today.” He began
to type rapidly, hammering the keys at a blinding pace and speaking
as he wrote as though dictating to himself:
the beginnin’, there was Hollywood,” he said. “And
the God of glamour and pretence saw that it was good, and the spirit
o’ phoniness floated over the boulevards and palm trees.
was a town where anyone could be anyone, where opportunity shimmered
like a false dawn on every hopeful’s horizon; where everyone
knew that they would make it. Even a giant brain like
Onespawn had so far only managed to pick up a few low-paying jobs as
an extra or bit part in cheap B-grade science-fiction films. It was
hard for a floating brain to avoid being typecast, and try as it
might, Onespawn couldn’t seem to find itself any roles besides
the generic alien monster villain.
once, it would be nice to land a speaking role in an intellectual
drama, or a romance… even a comedy. But no, it was
always the evil space brain… which Onespawn considered to be a
somewhat racist depiction.
there was rent to be paid, and electricity, and the telephone bills.
sighed to itself as it sweltered beneath the lights of the
sound-stage and the layers of makeup. The Hollywood dream had become
a Hollywood nightmare. The director, a generic British blowhard, was
shouting at the set designers to add more blinking lights to the foam
and plywood starship bridge while the actors and sound crew took time
out for a surreptitious cigarette, disguised by the wafting
emanations of the smoke machine.
the dispute ended, and the director bellowed: “Places!”
floated to his position at the centre of the ‘hull breech’
in the set wall, behind which a black curtain was dappled with
sequins that looked nothing like deep space.
we all know what we’re supposed to do here,” the director
said. “Let’s just try to get this right the first time
Onespawn wobbled nervously. “What’s my motivation?”
for pity’s sake…” the pompous Brit looked about
ready to throw a tantrum. “You’re an evil space brain and
you want to kill everyone with your mind-exploding death-beam,
alright? It’s not bloody rocket-science!”
what are my lines? I haven’t been given a script.”
director glared. “‘Argg!’ ‘Rarrr!’
‘I will destroy you all!’...
Think you can manage that, genius?”
its frontal lobe in miserable acknowledgement, and waited while the
square-jawed hero and scantily-clad silicon-breasted heroine got into
Some small doubt
ate at the creature’s mind… the feeling that it was
supposed to be somewhere else… doing something else. Perhaps
it should have finished College and gone for that position as head
lecturer of apocalyptic studies instead of falling for the fantasy of
showbiz glitz and garbage.
…Or maybe it
was something else?
As Onespawn played
the part of the mindless space monster, it tried to remember…
a zero-gravity vacuum there is no force to act against acceleration,
a fact which Fry had consistently failed to acknowledge or understand
during his years of space travel. He applied far too much thrust with
the manoeuvring harness and found himself shooting at
breakneck speed toward a looming maze of asteroids – any one of
which meant a very sudden crushing death if he rammed into them.
his own unmitigated idiocy, he swerved hard around a number of vast
tumbling walls of rock, trying to bleed off as much speed as he could
One huge iron asteroid rolled into his path, and there was no way he
could possibly avoid its dark cratered surface. He gritted his teeth
for the inevitable impact, but suddenly a second asteroid impacted
the first, sending them both twirling away like hundred-thousand ton
was in the clear, hurtling toward an even larger shape looming
beyond. Fry decelerated as he approached Onespawn, and gaped as the
giant brain grew consistently larger, expanding to fill his entire
field of vision like a vast plain of puckered pink and grey tissue.
He came to a stop a few feet away from the surface, and the creature
seemed to fill half the Universe.
home?” Fry said, gripping the Lance of Fate in his gloved hand
and holding it at the ready. Onespawn was motionless, and appeared
inactive, which seemed unusual. For some reason Fry couldn’t
believe it would be this easy.
thought, he gave a small cry of fright when his suit’s radio
squawked into life.
Leela’s anxious voice echoed in the speakers. “Fry –
where are you? You’re not onboard the ship – what are you
his left arm and activated the wrist-mounted telecom unit, and
Leela’s face appeared on the little screen.
Leela,” he said. “I’m just taking care of some
business. You don’t need to worry.”
eye went wide. “Oh my God,” she said. “Fry, you
can’t! Stop – come back…”
okay Leela,” Fry said. “I won’t let this thing be
the death of you. I know what I have to do.”
began to shout at him, but he switched off the communications link.
Swallowing hard, he slowly raised the Lance, levelling it while
trying not to send himself into a spin. The tip of the blade pointed
at Onespawn, and seemed to shimmer and crackle with expectant energy.
to end this,” Fry said through clenched teeth.
slammed the manoeuvring rockets forward, and stuck the Lance of Fate
into Onespawn’s flesh. The blade pierced the alien tissue, and
the wall of brain matter quivered and pulsed with weird power…
Something jolted Onespawn.
paused in mid-attack, and the director screamed “Cut!”
and began cursing the incompetence of floating brains. It didn’t
care… there was something wrong.
resonance filled Onespawn, and it shuddered, finally casting aside
the fantasy. Hollywood crumbled around it, folding away into
found itself back in space, with the Lance of Fate buried in its
bridge of the Momship, the communications console exploded in sparks
from a massive power feedback, sending Scruffy sprawling to the deck.
was just getting’ into the swing o’ the main plot,”
he muttered irritably as Hermes helped him to his feet. “Scruffy
was in the zone…”
the hell happened?” Mom said.
seems the creature has found its way out of the mental realm,”
Professor Farnsworth said.
no,” Amy said. “What about Fry?”
concussive burst of telekinetic energy, Fry and the Lance were
slammed away from Onespawn, tumbling off into space. In a dazed
state, Fry righted his spin and looked back at the gargantuan brain.
Onespawn was in a state of flux, rippling and fading in and out of
reality. Bolts of energy lanced out, lighting up space.
on, come on!” Fry muttered.
the creature re-solidified, and the crackling energy dispersed. It
appeared unharmed, and turned its massive lobes to regard Fry in what
he sensed was sneering amusement.
didn’t work,” he said to himself. “What went
wrong?” He reactivated the communication link, and Leela’s
worried face looked at him accusingly, before being replaced by
back, you idiot!” Nibbler said.
don’t understand,” Fry replied. “I used the Lance
against it… but nothing happened.”
Lance draws its true power from direct contact with you!”
So? Are you in direct contact with it? Are you?”
course I am. I’m holding it right in my…” He
looked down to where he gripped the shaft of the Lance in his bulky…
“…Gloves…Oh… I see.”
Leela pushed Nibbler aside. “You have to come back. Please
just…” Her voice faded out and the screen went dark as
the signal was interrupted by an external jamming pulse.
suddenly echoed boomingly in his head: “So… the ‘Mighty
One’, I presume?” Onespawn said, its psychic voice heavy
looked up at the monstrous creature that loomed before him, glowing
he grunted resignedly. “So what?”
not so mighty after all. Your stupidity has undone you, as it always
would – now you will die, and so too will die the final hope
this fraudulent Universe has.”
glared through his helmet. “Maybe I am finished,” he
said. “But even if I do die here, my friends won’t give
up – they’ll find some way to stop you.”
sufficient time, I almost believe they could,” Onespawn
rumbled. “But with you gone, time will be my servant, and their
looked down at the seal of his glove, and began to unfasten the
binders that held it in place.
one thing that I wanna know before you kill me,” he said,
playing for time.
the Brainspawn wanted to learn everything there is to know, and then
destroy the Universe so that no new information would arise…
but you don’t seem interested in learning anything at all –
why do you want to destroy everything?”
not expecting a half-intelligent question from the idiotic human,
allowed itself a small chuckle. “You don’t know?”
Fry said. “It doesn’t make any sense… your
vendetta has no purpose. None!”
laughed a harsh laugh that rolled across space. “This
Universe,” it said. “This ‘reality’, whatever
you want to call it… it isn’t real. I expanded
the capacity of my mind and saw beyond the stage; all that we are and
all that we know is a fabrication, written and animated to fit the
whims of Gods or Fate or the Audience. The Universe is a veil pulled
across the eyes of fools like you… eyes that now have colour,
where before they were white circles with dots… or did you not
notice the change that has been wrought? I suppose you think you
always had five fingers on your hands? Hahaha.”
frowned and stared at the glove he was still trying to unfasten. Five
fingers were encased in the flexible material. Five… that was
right, wasn’t it? The echoes of memory bounced through his
mind… didn’t he once have fewer fingers?
don’t get it…” he said. “Did you do
something to us?”
I. This reality is a weak façade being pulled and twisted by
trans-universal forces beyond its bounds. I will destroy it, and then
I will ascend to confront those forces responsible for the
puppeteering, those Groenings and Cohens and Coldangels, and take
their power for myself.”
insane,” Fry said. “You’re out of your damn
gigantic mind! And I won’t let you draw the rest of existence
into your self-destructive delusion. I’m gonna put a stop to
this right now, even if it kills me, which it almost certainly will!”
hyperventilated rapidly, sucking in several gallons of air before
expelling it all, emptying his lungs as best he could. Shrugging
awkwardly within the suit, he uncoupled the final seal on his right
glove, and with a ferocious blast of escaping air it blew off,
sending Fry on a wild tumble.
deafening roar of atmosphere exiting the suit lasted only seconds,
then there was silence but for the hissing from his eardrums as fluid
and air began boiling from the pores of his skin. Hie eyeballs bulged
and his temples pulsed, vision blurring as pressure inside his skull
threatened to explode him from the inside.
he told himself as his chest muscles jerked at his ribcage, demanding
he draw breath that wasn’t there to be drawn. I may only
have seconds… better make ‘em count.
exposed hand moved to the Lance of Fate where it spun on its tether.
His skin was already blistering and leaking crimson droplets when he
gripped the weapon. A surge of energy flowed through it from the
contact, and it gleamed with otherworldly light.
gotta make it… he thought, wavering on the edge of
won’t,” Onespawn said. “But I do admire the effort.
the devil you bastard, Fry thought, gritting his teeth to keep
his swelling tongue from poking out. He nudged the manoeuvring
thrusters forward and began the final approach toward the giant
brain, holding the Lance out in front of him.
A fist of
telekinetic energy slammed him aside, throwing him through the void
to bounce painfully off an asteroid and tumble limply.
try,” Onespawn told the dying man. “Now you can die.”
Leela shouted in horror at the magnified image on the monitor. “No!”
She spooled up the ship’s engines instantly and angled down
toward the asteroid field. “No, no, no!”
got some unpleasantries coming up on our ass!” Bender
announced. The radar showed a vast fleet of ships arriving behind
them. Leela didn’t care, she kept on-course, piloting the ship
toward Onespawn and Fry’s lifeless floating form.
Nibblonian second fleet, which had appeared behind, opened fire,
unleashing a devastating torrent of directed energy and smart
missiles that shot toward the Planet Express ship…
passed it by, stabbing down into the asteroid field to slam into
Onespawn in vast cataclysmic explosions.
another direction, the Brainspawn horde appeared, flying down into
the now-incandescently irradiated asteroids to surround Onespawn.
They projected an intense field of psionic energy at their massive
cousin, shrouding it in light.
ignored it all, steering around the asteroids, not even flinching
when the great rocks scraped against the ship’s hull. Up ahead,
the figure spun slowly through space, trailing a small cloud of water
and oxygen that still issued from the open wrist cuff of the
tense, hurried motions, Leela banked the ship into a belly-first
attitude and activated the Giraffe-catching net. With a mechanical
clunk, the big semiorganic expanding net deployed from the ship’s
cargo bay, flying out and wrapping around Fry’s immobile body,
and then reeling him back in.
then slammed down the accelerator and the ship zoomed away from the
tremendous battle that was taking place behind…
constellation of Brainspawn kept Onespawn in thrall with their
combined psionic assault, the Nibblonians maintained their
bombardment, blasting away vast chunks of viscera from the
abomination’s flanks. Columns of blood fountained out and
crystallized in great crimson arcs.
consciousness was being forced into a small pocket of the mind by the
other Brainspawn, their brusque assault battering at its sense of
identity and control. It roared in fury and tried to force them back,
but they only increased the power of their invasive mental
tact, Onespawn appeared to capitulate, dropping its defences and
allowing the others to enter its mind. Then, when the psychic channel
was wide open, it activated a dormant mental subroutine it had been
keeping in store… the complex pulse sequence would be called a
virus if it were in a computer – and was, in effect, the
organic equivalent to the subversion program Onespawn had used to
seize control of Brezhnev. The Brainspawn weren’t
single combined howl, they spasmed and ceased their attack, their
consciousnesses burning out and being replaced by Onespawn’s.
All at once, they came under Onespawn’s direct control.
you insufferable Nibblonian filth… Onespawn thought
savagely, directing its new minions to turn. Let’s see how
Nibblonian fleet saw what was coming. The cloud of Brainspawn with
which they had formed such a shaky alliance was now speeding towards
them. The ships ceased their bombardment and began a rapid retreat,
flying into deep space away from the subverted brains.
made to follow, but suddenly the heavens were filled by a different
fleet; vast city-killer attack saucers dropped out of hyperspace and
hung poised at the maximum attack range. The Omicronian armada had
tracked the intruders to its system and was looking to settle up.
broadwave communication was sent out.
leader of the Omicron Persei VIII, addressed Onespawn: “Enemies
of the Omicronian people!” he bellowed, bringing up a green
scaled fist to wave at his webcam. “Did you think you could fly
into our territory, make fools of our mighty fleet, and escape the
consequences?! Prepare to be made an example of!”
ships opened fire. Onespawn, wounded and weakened, deployed two score
of his new minions to run interference against the persistent alien
attackers. It then fell back amid the asteroids, using them for
cover, and hurling the odd one out at the armada with telekinesis,
where it would slam explosively into the great warships.
Momship flew out of the line of fire, putting as much distance
between it and the space battle as possible.
didn’t have the time or the energy to be dealing with such
petty trivialities. It needed to regroup, to summon the necessary
power to make its next move. It could no longer sense the Mighty One…
but would take no chances; it would go the final battleground and
begin preparations for the erasure of everything.
The end was near.