Futurama: Universe of Malice, Part 8
By Kenneth White
Chapter 8 - Maleficent Orb
Earth was not prepared for it. It was a planet teeming with life, but it was soon to face the largest global extinction crisis in its short history. It happened about 248,000,000 years in the past, and the planet was in a period modern scientists called the Permian, during the Palaeozoic Era. That's when a large and ancient asteroid entered the planet's atmosphere, one so big that there was nothing that could stop it from tearing through from the exosphere to the troposphere taking little damage and slamming into the massive ocean, causing massive devastation that took out over ninety percent of the planet's species, and rendered the planet almost dead for thousands of years.
But it was not all bad. Not only did it pave the way for life to continue later, life that would eventually lead to the present day, but it also saw the arrival of two ancient and powerful alien objects. Two objects that would doom a civilisation of the past, but also had the ability to save many lives in the future.
"What the hell are you doing in here?!" Baldur asked, grabbing the newcomer by the scruff of his suit and holding him up as much as he could.
"Whoa! Easy there!" Zapp said, clearly a little scared. "No need to go off the handle! I don't even know where I am myself."
Baldur snorted and let go, dropping Zapp on his ass. He turned his back to Zapp, his arms crossed, and began to think. Zapp in the meantime tapped his helmet on the side, clearly annoyed by something.
"Stupid helmet computer is on the fritz!" he said. "I hope I've still got enough oxygen?"
"Quiet!!" ordered Baldur spinning around. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't blast you away right now!!!"
"B-b-b-blast me?!" said a weary and confused Zapp.
"Yes, blast you!" the small warrior repeated. He then launched a bright ball of energy into the distance, knocking another piece of large wreckage from a conveyor belt. Zapp squealed, and it was by no means a manly squeal either.
"Well..." he said, noticeably intimidated, "I can help you."
"How can YOU help me?!" Baldur questioned loudly.
"Wh-what do you need help with?"
"I NEED to get out of this bastard place!!"
"Then that's what I can help you with," Zapp answered confidently.
"Fine then!" Baldur snorted.
"So..." said Zapp, trailing off a little, "where are we then?"
"WHAT?!" yelled Baldur. "You HONESTLY don't know?! How the hell did you get here then?!!"
"I 'unno," shrugged Zapp. "The last thing I remember is seeing that drill come flying at me, and then, BAM! I woke up here."
"We're inside a gigantic planet thing of some kind!" said Baldur. "I assume you can at least remember being attacked by it on whatever planet you're from?"
"Yes, I do remember something like that."
"Good," said Baldur with a satisfied grin. "Now shut up and help me look for a way out of here! And take off that stupid helmet!!"
"B-b-but..." Zapp stuttered.
Baldur instantly ripped it off and threw it aside, causing to Zapp to clutch his throat and making choking sounds. Baldur snorted.
"There's air, you idiot!"
Zapp instantly got to his feet, stopping the gagging actions instantly.
"I knew that," he said. "Standard DOOP procedure when taking off a helmet in a foreign environment."
"Fool!" Baldur stated with a grunt. "Now look for a way out of here before I really DO blast you!!"
"Roger wilco," said Zapp with a salute. "How about we both split up and then rendezvous here in an hour?"
Baldur stopped in his tracks, realising that Zapp had said rendezvous exactly as it was spelt.
"Rendezvous?!" Baldur yelled, repeating it how Zapp had said it. "It's 'ron-dey-vue' you idiot!!!"
"Hey, I think I know how to say rendezvous," said Zapp with a huff, sticking to his way of saying it. It was then that the whole area began to shake slightly. Zapp was knocked over on his ass once again.
"What the hell is that?!" he asked. Baldur appeared just as shocked.
"I don't know!" he yelled, louder than usual over the roaring that accompanied the shaking.
What the two trapped survivors didn't realise was that the monster they now dwelled in was preparing to lay waste to and consume another planet. As it approached the dull looking planet of Dessicatius, the metal beast opened what would be best described as it's mouth. A large device inside it, bigger any space station, began to power up and glow a bright red, and as the spherical victim began to shake all over with the effects of the planet eater's proximity, the device shot down a red beam upon it's surface. When the entire surface of the planet had been shrouded by the red energy, the mouth widened, allowing the beam to cover a greater area, and then turn the scarlet beam into a bubble, surrounding the planetary victim.
The front of the device inside then opened, and out of it a shiny metallic barrel poked. As soon as it emerged, it shot a thick beam of purple shot through the planet from it. As soon as the beam made it out the other side, it stopped and the large barrel disappeared back where it had came from. Then, with the power of a black hole, the monster sucked in the crumbling planet, piece by piece, tearing apart what the violet beam hadn't already. Chunks of debris, hundreds of kilometres big, were drawn in and devoured. They disappeared into a large, dark opening below the beam-emitting device, going to who knows where. Then, when every piece was gone, the device shut down, the mouth closed, and the metal beast continued to travel on.
Dwight chomped into a slice of toast, sitting at a table in the Conrad household. It was lunchtime and he was home from school for the moment to have his lunch at home. A portable TV sat at one end of the table, on which the midday news was showing. Just as LaBarbara Conrad walked in and placed a glass of orange juice on the table near Dwight, Hermes tried to sneak slowly behind her to the front door, taking small, carefully placed steps towards his target.
"Not so fast there, Hermes!" LaBarbara said without even turning to face him, stopping Hermes in his tracks. She then turned around.
"Where to you thing you're goin' then?" she asked, arms crossed.
"Just to get de paper, dear," Hermes said with a nervous smile.
"Oh, no you weren't," she retorted. "You were off ta work, weren't you?"
"The Professor needs my help, hot woman!" he said in defence.
"I'm sure he would understand you stayin' home, dear," she said simply. "What with dat nasty shot you took."
Hermes' attention was suddenly focussed on the television, as Linda and Morbo's news report became a little more interesting that normal.
"This just in," the news monster said, receiving a piece of paper from an off-screen
tentacle, "It appears the entire universe may be doomed once again, according
to Admiral Graham Gordon of the Democratic Order of Planets. We will cross over
to his address from the DOOP Orbital Station live in a few minutes, but first,
here are the details. Several planets that have been of significant importance
to puny humans have been destroyed by what has been described to Morbo as a giant
"Hopefully it won't eat Earth," commented Linda.
"It matters not!" said Morbo. "For soon Earth will fall victim to the tyranny of Morbo's superior race!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!"
Linda chuckled mindlessly at Morbo's comment. It was also then that a hologram of the Professor's face appeared just above the table.
"Hermes! Are you there?!" it said.
"I'm here, Professor," the bureaucrat replied. "What is it?"
"Did you see the news?!" the Professor exclaimed.
"Yes," nodded Hermes. "I wonder if this has anything to do with dat Baron stealing de ship and crew?"
"I don't know!" said the Professor. "But I DO know that Wernstrom is behind this! Somehow!"
"What?!" said Hermes. "How?"
"When the news report came on, my Wernstrometer went off the charts!" Farnsworth huffed. "Weeeeeerrrrnnnstrom!!!!"
"Then why are you contacting me?" asked Hermes.
"I want you to come to work immediately," he said. His holographic form then reached out and took the glass of juice from Dwight's hand and he began to drink it.
"Hey!" yelled Dwight.
Farnsworth finished the drink and placed it back in Dwight's hand.
"Thank you, boy. Anyway, come to work immediately"
"Wait a minute!" said LaBarbara, stepping between her husband and the hologram. "What about Hermes' back?!"
"I have a back too!" yelled the Professor. "But I still came to work!"
"I mean his BAD back," she said.
"Oh!" the Professor said. "Well, I have a bad back too! Or at least I did until it was replaced with a titanium rod."
"And another thing!" the sexy Jamaican wife said. "Stop just appearing all
over de house whenever you feel like it! I'll never forget that time I was in
de shower and you suddenly appeared looking for Hermes!"
"Neither will I," said the Professor dreamily. "Oh, and Hermes! Your little school friend Cubert is here too. He didn't go to school today because he was helping me."
"Uh..... Professor...." said Hermes. "Cubert is DWIGHT'S school friend, not mine."
"I wondered where he was," said Dwight.
Two words were then heard from the TV set that made the Professor's holographic form turn around to face it.
"Cheap space vehicles!"
"Oooh, that's good news!" the Professor remarked.
"That's right!" said a familiar dilapidated robot on the screen. "I'm Malfunctioning Eddie, and have I got some deals for you! Due to the revelation that Earth may be destroyed soon, I've got a huge selection of cheap ships and rocket cars for YOU! Just come to Malfunctioning Eddie's Rocket-Car Emporium, and you can get this fabulous Deluxe Ford ThunderCougarFalconBird for only five thousand dollars!!!"
"Engine sold separately," a voice chimed in, quickly and quietly.
"They're sure to have a ship we can buy!" smiled the Professor. "Then we can go and get Wernstrom!!!"
"I'll be dere in a jiff," Hermes replied. "Come on, Dwight, I'll take you to
school on de way."
"Awwwwww.... can't I come and hang out with Cubert?" Dwight pleaded.
"No," stated Hermes simply. "You have to learn to grow up and be a responsible, mature adult like your dad. Now grab your bag, and we can tease dose fat people in de gym windows on the way."
Just like when they were en route to the Ellipse World, Fry stared out the window of the PTV at the stars flitting by. He always found it soothing, and he always thought best when he looked out at them. They always seemed so peaceful and mysterious. But as we looked out, suddenly something strange happened.
His sight began to zoom into the depths of space, the stars flitting straight at him instead of past him, even though the ship hadn't changed direction. Fry just stared as galaxies and nebula's appeared to fly past him. It was as if his mind was being transported billions of light years away at a fantastic speed. Then, it suddenly came to a halt, and Fry found himself no longer in the ship, and no longer with Alesia.
It appeared as though Fry was standing upon a tiny asteroid in the depths of
space. In the misty atmosphere around him, thick clouds of purple haze wafted
around. Through them, Fry could see thousands of small asteroids, just like the
one he was standing on, randomly moving around and swirling through the dense,
brumous atmosphere. The only other things that could be seen were the bright circles
of obscured and clouded stars in the distance. The only sound was what sounded
like a far off rumble coming from behind him. As Fry turned around, awed at the
setting he was now in, to the point of not really caring how or why he was there,
he suddenly noticed that there was a huge asteroid twirling there, obscuring his
view in that direction. It slowly began to twirl towards him, but then moved aside.
What Fry saw then froze his blood.
As soon as the large piece of rotating rock had started to move aside, the low rumble got louder and louder. By the time it had completely unobstructed Fry's view, it had become a deafening roar. Fry was just a statue. A statue of fear. For now what he saw was a massive metal sphere of titanic proportions. And, it was moving towards him. The front of it was opened, and as it drifted closer to Fry, howling like a mechanical banshee, Fry suddenly found a wind of hurricane proportions hit him. The opened mouth appeared to get wider as it drew close, it alone as large as a moon and filled with an evil glowing red that could only be described as the colours of hell. The shiny surface of the beast was far from appealing, a vile shade of ashy silver.
Fry was staring at what few living beings had seen, the monster that had been devouring planets. But what Fry didn't know was that he was looking at it from a unique and safe perspective. With a bright flash, Fry suddenly found himself back in the PTV, sitting next to Alesia. He was sweating a lot though, and had suddenly gasped upon being brought back to reality, which had attracted Alesia's attention.
"Are..... are you alright?" she asked, clearly concerned and bewildered by what was wrong with Fry.
"I'm..... fine....." said Fry between gasps, as he breathed heavily. Alesia took a white handkerchief from a pocket in her dress and wiped some of the from Fry's forehead. He smiled.
"Thanks," he said.
"What happened?" she asked.
"I don't know exactly," said Fry with an honest shrug. "It was like my mind was taken trillions of light years away and I saw this horrible..... thing!"
"What? What did you see?" asked Alesia, as if she dreaded to know, but just had to.
"It was like this humungous metal planet thing, but it was awful! It would be an understatement if I said it was like somebody took hell and put it inside this thing so that the devil could wander space and slowly devour the universe. It must have been the thing that the Baron was looking for."
"I thought the Baron was looking for those gems?" Alesia questioned.
"Yeah, but apparently the gems hold the key to destroying the monster. He wants to use that power to become the monster's master instead."
"So that's the special power that the jewels possess then?" she said. "The ability to destroy the beast."
Fry nodded. "Yeah. And he's already got one of them, that I already do know. And I'm afraid he might hurt my friends in the process."
Alesia was about to speak when an urgent beeping sound emitted from the dashboard, accompanied by an orange flashing light. Alesia looked worried.
"Uh oh!" she said. "It looks like there's an unidentified ship closing in fast from behind us!"
Fry turned and looked through the laser-window behind him, and he could see
something in the distance, closing fast. After a while, the ship became clearer.
"It's space pirates!" he said, turning to Alesia. "I've come across them before. They weren't really a problem."
"Really?!" said Alesia, a little relieved, but still concerned. "How did you stop them?!"
"Well, once we just shot one down and then fired a robot through the other. Of course that was in a large starship and not a PTV. Plus the robot thing was unintentional."
Alesia groaned. "That doesn't help! This PTV only has laser capabilities, and they're weak lasers at that."
Suddenly the PTV slowed, almost to a halt. A yellow beam surrounded them.
"Oh no!" Alesia said, struggling with the controls in vain. "We're caught in a tractor beam!"
"Pfft! Relax," Fry consoled. "We'll be fine. We're in a PTV, not a tractor."
"Doesn't matter, it's still dragging us into it! They're going to take us aboard!"
"What if they make us talk?!" Fry said, suddenly panicked. "We need a quick excuse for why we're here!"
"Doesn't mater," said Alesia, shaking her head. "They'll probably use a mind-probe on us and read our minds anyway."
Fry screamed, pulling on his hair.
"No! They can't! We HAVE to do something! They CAN'T know what I know, the fate of the universe depends on it!!"
"Don't worry," Alesia said, pressing a few buttons on the dashboard. "I have an idea."
With those words, a bright light flashed in the entire cockpit, and Fry and Alesia fell unconscious, just as the PTV was pulled inside the pirate ship.
Zapp and Baldur continued to walk through the large circular tunnel that they had entered. They didn't know where it was taking them, but they had been walking through it ever since the shaking had stopped. It wasn't the only thing that stopped, as Zapp yawned and halted.
"Wait!" he said to Baldur. "I need rest. I haven't slept in ages!"
Baldur stopped, glancing back at Zapp over his shoulder with a scowl.
"Weakling! A TRUE warrior doesn't stop for sleep unless he REALLY needs it!"
"Yeah," said Zapp, sitting down with an exhausted groan. "Well I really need it. That Black Spirit stuff may have energised me for weeks, but I still need some sleep."
"Black Spirit?!" questioned Baldur.
"Yeah, this black stuff that energises you with just a small amount," Zapp said simply.
Baldur took the dark stuff that had energised him earlier from a pocked of his and showed it to Zapp. Zapp smiled wearily.
"Yes, that's the stuff," he said, then suddenly perked up. "Wait! How did YOU find it?!"
"That's none of your concern!!!" Baldur yelled, unintentionally squeezing the block in rage and turning it to dust. Zapp squealed.
"Okay! Forget that I asked!"
Baldur snorted. "YOU can rest, but I'M going to find a way out of here!"
He brushed the shiny black dust from his hands and turned away.
"You were only slowing me down anyway!" he growled, before rising into the
air a few feet. "Now to find a way out of this bastard thing!"
A burst of blue energy flared around him and he shot into the distance, disappearing from Zapp's sight within seconds. Zapp was dumbfounded.
"What the hell IS that guy?!" he said to himself. "Anyway, time to go to sleep
and dream about seductively sexy alien females giving me sexual favours in a pool
Zapp, however, pronounced 'soufflé' as 'soffle.' An angry voice yelled out
from the distance, echoing down the tunnel.
"It's pronounced 'su-fley' you fool!!"
With that, Baldur came tearing back from where he had gone, landing a few metres away from Zapp with his typical expression of vexation.
"So," said Zapp arrogantly. "You came crawling back to the Zapper for help, huh?"
"NO!" roared Baldur in the captain's face. "It was a dead end!! Two miles of NOTHING!"
"Look," said Zapp, "You're clearly tired and angry."
His voice then went insultingly babyish.
"Somebody needs some nappy time!"
"SILENCE FOOL!" Balder screamed. "OR I'LL BLAST YOU RIGHT NOW!!!"
With that, Baldur levitated into the air slightly and launched his right fist towards Zapp's head, only to have it make contact with metal instead.
As Baldur recoiled in pain, growling loudly, he saw what happened. The floor had opened beneath Zapp and him, sending Zapp disappearing down into it, and causing his fist to hit the wall where Zapp had been. He didn't fall only because he had levitated so as to reach Zapp's height. The echoed screams of Zapp could be still heard below him. As soon as he had overcome the surprise and pain, he pulled out of his levitation and let himself fall down too, though not as noisily as Zapp had. 'Perhaps this leads to a way out?' he thought to himself.