Story by David Welle
Burns caught wind of this, and just this morning was waking up to his assistant, Waylon Smithers, reporting that those colleagues, including one Commander John Koenig, had just arrived at the Springfield Airport. So Burns, fearing Koenig would find out the truth and call in the feds immediately, had Smithers call Frink to meet him at the shield's main control center. Once there, Burns ordered Frink to activate the system.
Frink protested: "But without Bergman and his procedures, there's the energy demands and the UNTESTED and the GOYVIN and the unknown and NOBODY'S CONTACTED the POWER PLANT--"
"Activate it," Burns ordered even more impatiently than the first time, and after another hesitation by Frink, shouted, "What kind of mad scientist are you? Just switch it on already, or I will cut off your research funds." His voice lowered to an ominous level to add: "All of your funds." Seconds later, the generators were starting to hum, drawing more and more power from the grid, and abruptly, the Bergman Shield began forming above them.
At the same moment, Homer Simpson, safety inspector at the "nucleon plant," was suddenly confronted with dozens of warning lights. They immediately gave him a headache, and there were no more donuts left, so he hurriedly left for the Kwik-E-Mart to get a box of "emergency donuts." As he drove away, he noticed that bright bolts of magnetic energy were arcing from cooling tower to cooling tower. "Uh oh, I'll need two boxes now," he said as he kept going -- faster now.
John Koenig, Paul Morrow, analyst Sandra Benes, and Doctor Helena Russell, knowing only that Victor wanted them to help him conduct some unspecified "urgent but quiet investigation and analysis," parked their rented minivan across the street from his temporary home. Just as they were about to cross, they were nearly run over by an orange station wagon swerving around at about 100 kph. It missed them, and Koenig glared after it for a few moments before it disappeared from sight. Victor had already seen them, and emerging from his home, anxiously walked towards them. "My friends! Welcome to Springfield. I am very happy to see you again, even under the circumstances."
They exchanged very brief pleasantries, not yet aware that even more immediate danger was brewing at -- and far more importantly, under -- the power plant.
"I see the shield here has just been turned on," Helena said.
"It looks sound, from here at least," Paul commented.
"But why aren't you at the generator control center?" Sandra asked.
"That is the problem. I am as shocked as you that it was activated, and it is good timing that you are here now. This is why I asked you all here in the first place: I have recently been doubting the motives of Montgomery Burns."
"I can see why," John said dryly. "Let's go."
Carefully checking for another idiot driver, they started crossing the street, but got only halfway when the ground started shaking. Paul shouted and pointed towards the power plant. "Commander! It's going up!"
Despite the strange sights at the power plant, it is not the reactors which explode, however, but something else the Shield and the partially-malfunctioning plant are together affecting: a plume of illegally-dumped nuclear waste which lay deep under the thick bedrock of the whole city. The whole layer abruptly exploded, propelling Springfield up towards space, under its atmosphere-holding shield.
Elsewhere, Professor Frink fled. "Gotta get to the MATTER transmitter, before we're out of the RANGE and the..." he muttered, thankful the Simpsons had sold the devices back to him (for ten cents each) and that he had previously had the stroke of brilliance to have one shipped to Capital City. "Getting higher up, almost beyond the STRATOsphere! Uh oh uh oh, too GLAVIN far! Better go to my lab anyway. Time to try the experimental Artifical Gravity Generators. AGGies!"
At Springfield Elementary, Miss Edna Krabappel looked at Bart as the floor continued shaking below them and blue sky was turning black. "Hey, it wasn't me," Bart stated.
Homer, emerging from the Kwik-E-Mart with three boxes of "sprinkle"-covered donuts, stopped in his tracks, looked around, and yelled "D'oh!" The sound echoed beneath the Bergman Shield.
At the Simpson home, Lisa, on her first sick day in who knows how long, looked out on the scene from her open second-story window, and sadly said, "Oh, Dad." Maggie was giggling with delight downstairs, and not far away, Marge looked out the kitchen window as airplanes fell onto lawns throughout the neighborhood. "Who's going to clean up all those jets?" she asked no one in particular.
Alan Carter, struggling to keep his jet plane in the air, looked at the fast-changing scenery, and coincidentally wondered, "Who's going to convert all these jets for space flight?"
So on September 13, 1999, the 31100 people and visitors of Springfield, the whole town, and its immediate outskirts, left planet Earth for the unknowns of deep space, with only the bedrock beneath it and the Bergman Shield above it for protection, its still-mostly-intact power plant for energy (though Homer Simpson was soon finally fired for good), a few dozen jet planes courtesy of an air show that week, and what other resources -- of any kind -- were in the town at the time.
(Many months later, deep into the galaxy....)
"Hmm... They obviously come from a culture that's similar to our own. But, ah... not so advanced, of course."
"Would I make a good Springfieldian, Father?" Maya asked playfully.
"Stop it, Maya," Mentor said in a gently chiding voice. "I teach you the priceless art of molecular transformation; and...."
First Officer Tony Verdeschi watched the view screen, inside the just-finished Command Center, a bunker deep under the control tower of the former Springfield Airport (now Springfield Spaceport), as another of the converted jet planes, now a space plane called an Eagle, accelerated down the runway, took to the air, and climbed towards space.
On board, Chief Pilot Alan Carter flew in the direction of Psychon, taking him, Commander Koenig, Doctor Russell, Lew Picard, and... (Alan sighed) Homer Simpson there. They were on a diplomatic/rescue mission after their first Eagle, which had been searching for titanium (and oil, beryllium, silicon, boron, chlorine, hydrocarbons, any plants or animals for possible food that may have been missed in more distant scans, etc.), was lost to an alien, Mentor of Psychon.
Homer, the only one not dressed in Springfield Spaceport's uniforms, but rather his trademark blue pants and white shirt, was visibly nervous, as always -- but even more so, for this new planet had looked like a moldy pizza pie floating in space, and to Homer, that was a bad sign, made worse by the odd-eyebrows man named Mental or something, who had sounded like a bully playing nice just before he delivers a sucker punch to the gut. Yet Homer has a duty he might need to perform, one he had been stuck with ever since being identified as a major factor in the Breakaway from Earth, and fired from the "nucleon plant." It was scary duty, but as long as he was always rewarded with Tony's beer, lots of extra food, and the thought he might be helping in some small way to keep his family safe, he would just hum and sing loudly the whole flight, to try to forget he was going to Pizzaon or whatever it was called.
Their space plane was soon captured, like the first one, by a ball of light sent by Mentor, and they were pulled into a long, empty lava tube which headed into the depths of a volcano. Out of contact with Springfield, not reassured by Mentor's latest oily words, and wanting to give Homer something else to see so he would stop singing about "imagining eating good pizzas to forget the bad one" or some such drivel for the tenth time, they all left the ship and began to explore.
They encountered a mine full of zombie-like beings, including what was left of one of the Springfieldians captured hours ago, Ray Torens. Then a holographic representation of Mentor appeared. Picard, trying to shoot his way past it, was instantly vaporized. Everyone ran -- except for Homer, who tried, tripped, and ended up rolling in the dirt. He got up, and too scared to dust himself off, finally got running. Mentor, however, quickly captured all of them using yet another ball of transference light. Mistaking the differently-dressed, dusty, and incoherently-babbling being for an already brain-drained miner, however, Mentor almost immediately transferred Homer "back" there, ordering him to get back to work, while imprisoning the rest.
John was chilled to wake up to the sight of a lioness, then shocked to see it transform into a lovely young alien-looking woman he soon found out is Maya, Mentor's daughter. He started confronting her, but she was puzzled at John's anger and the accusations, which she cut off promptly. "My father would harm no one!" she said in clear anger, before softening her tone to say "Come." She lowered the force field between them and guided the commander to Mentor, who promptly dismissed his protesting daughter from the Grove. Soon, Koenig was horrified to see his people, except Simpson, strapped to brain-draining devices, and listened to Mentor's mad ideas of restoring Psychon using the mind-energy-removing biological computer, Psyche, an impressive if curious collection of panels, controls, and liquid-filled glass tubes and bowls. The Commander played a dangerous game of brinkmanship with the Psychon, but was soon back in a force-field-protected detention cell, this time with most of his people, including one of the previously-lost pilots, Bill Fraser. An angry Maya confronted them, and John tried to convince her to "go to the caves and see for yourself... Mindless hulks! Destroyed by your father!"
"You're lying!" she shouted, turning and fleeing down the hallway and around the corner, while Koenig, frustrated, slapped his fist against his other palm, watching what might be his last chance for saving Springfield disappear.
Homer, having worked more hours of physical labor than in years, had now gotten bored, tired, and thirsty. Now wondering why he had obeyed the orders of a strange man dressed in a cape, he started wandering about. After blundering about in side passages of the mine for awhile, a white bird suddenly flew past him, in the direction of the zombies, and in a brief moment of clarity, he decided to see where it came from. He soon found an open doorway to some smooth hallways he had not seen before. He paused, excitedly said, "Ooh, station-wagon-colored walls," and thinking he was getting somewhere now, resumed looking for the nearest tavern.
Minutes later, a shocked and humbled Maya freed the other imprisoned Springfieldians, her having flown through the caves and seen the living husks laboring there. Alan, Helena, and Bill headed back to the space plane and to mount what would become a fruitless effort to rescue Torens, while John and Maya went to the Grove to confront her father. By pure luck, at the same moment, Homer stumbled into the Grove by another door. Mentor, surprised by the appearance of his daughter and the commander, failed to see Simpson.
"Mmmm, beeeeer," Homer promptly said, out of earshot of the others, wriggling his fingers in anticipation as he forgets he is on another planet and mistakes the bubbling liquid in Psyche's columns and bowls for party-colored Tonysbrau. With a little effort, he climbed onto the computer and began guzzling its fluids, breaking numerous columns and bowls in the process, as he spilled far more than he drank. Finally, Mentor turned towards Homer, and latter, choking a bit, said to the former, "Bar... tender, my compli... compli... praise for this beer. It's even better than Tony's."
"You're mad!" Mentor shouted, and started running towards Simpson -- but the Psychon was intercepted by Koenig. "To release Psyche's energy will destroy the whole planet!" Mentor yelled, as small explosions started sounding around them.
"To rally psycho's enemy will deflate the donut hole plant? Whatever, just start a tab. Waaaait a minute, shouldn't one of these bowls have beernuts?" Homer, getting no answer, then resumed his destructive guzzling.
Mentor backed away from John and looked at Homer like a madman at an moron, while Mentor's world died around him. He realized all was lost, and turned to the Commander. "Save Maya!" he yelled, hoping that if he can save anything, that it could be his beautiful daughter, whom he hoped Koenig would be willing to welcome.
"Father!" Maya cried in distress, trying to run into the flames after her father, but restrained by John and pulled into the hallway. Homer, no longer thirsty but scared by the fires, followed them out, just as Maya started fighting metamorphically against John. Homer found the scene baffling: "Really good beer, but makes me see odd-eyebrows lady turning into animals." He continued on, not hearing Mentor die as Homer struggled to remember where the space plane was. He screeched briefly when he finally recalled he would have to go through the caves again to get there.
Maya escaped the commander, but she could do nothing now but revert, wide-eyed and sobbing softly as everything she knew perished around her. Finally, John managed to get Maya to flee with him to the Eagle. As the space plane ran down the length of the lava tube to gain speed, and then flew into air towards space, it was rocked about as Psychon's explosions further intensified. "Woohoo! Roller coaster ride!" Homer commented, heedless of the surviving Psychon's pain, and not even realizing he had just helped save Springfield.
Two Springfieldians lost, a new friend found and soon to be welcomed to Springfield, and one of the city-in-space's most dangerous -- and hungriest -- weapons still alive and happy to return to his home and spend time with his family after a scary mission, they leave the remnants of Psychon behind.
(A light-hearted TV series cross-over story done with apologies to George Bellak, Johnny Byrne, writers of "Breakaway" and "The Metamorph" -- two of my favorite episodes -- respectively, and who knows how many writers of The Simpsons! Initially inspired by Ken Scott's first-published version of artwork of John Koenig, Helena Russell, and Maya as Simpsons characters.)
Story Copyright ©2007, David M. Welle.
Thanks to Ken Scott for providing the artwork!
This not-for-profit amateur fan fiction publication, is designed for entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to infringe upon the rights of any copyright holders of Space: 1999 and/or The Simpsons franchises.
R-08/09/07: Story started
A-08/11/07: Story posted
S-08/12/07: Artwork added
R-08/16/07: Minor edits
F-02/15/08: minor additions (clarity)
W-12/02/09: spelling correction