"Should auld acquaintance be forgot… And never brought to mind?"
Midnight, January 1, 2000. New York City and the remainder of eastern North America gathered in rapturous celebration as a new millennium began. The lights of Times Square and Broadway glowed bright as ever, despite the previous fears of some. Most of the revelers would not admit their relief that the world's computers had not in fact reset to the year 1900 and plunged the world into a new dark age, not even those who had bought into the ominous media rumors and spent the past year stockpiling canned food and guns. (And more than a few joyous souls who had mocked those people as paranoid nincompoops breathed a private sigh of relief that the power and ATM's still seemed to work.) For now all that mattered was a pint cup with friends "for auld lang syne". The world would keep on turning, from Times Square to the World Trade Center to the Yucatan Peninsula to Tokyo and all points in between.
Yes, this world (and others like it) would indeed keep on turning. And two creatures had made it their purpose in life to ensure that they all kept on turning.
The City That Never Sleeps was certainly living up to its nickname that night, and most night spots and gathering places were abuzz with people and noise. But there were still a few quieter corners throughout the Big Apple, such as a somber side street in Midtown where stood an up-and-coming small business known as Applied Cryogenics. At that moment, a small black creature which somewhat resembled a cat crossed with a monkey (though neither cats nor monkeys are known for possessing third eyes growing out of their heads on thin stalks), was exiting this business. The people of the newly minted year 2000 A.D. may have had felt at that moment that they had dodged a large bullet, but Nibbler knew that thanks to his efforts that night, they and the other inhabitants of this universe would eventually dodge one incomprehensibly larger.
Philip J. Fry, the one known being in the universe without a Delta Brain Wave, had successfully been frozen and would reawaken to fight the Brainspawn in a thousand years' time. Despite his great intellect, Nibbler and the rest of his species only had a limited emotional range compared with humans. Even so, he had a rudimentary sensation of pride and accomplishment in knowing that he had ultimately done the right thing and was successful. But just then a soft, high-pitched voice inside his head interrupted that train of thought.
"Greetings, and Happy New Year to you."
Nibbler turned around to face the white alien which vaguely resembled a cat crossed with a rabbit (though neither cats nor rabbits are known for possessing pink frills at the ends of their ears, rings hovering around them, or hypnotizing eyes of the deepest crimson). "Happy New Year and Millennium to you too, cousin," he replied. "I…suppose you're here to make another contract, am I right?"
"Indeed I am," Kyubey said. "A new millennium may have dawned—at least according to the calendar of this one particular human society—and their fears of planetwide computer failure may now be assuaged, but time, tide and entropy wait for no one. And by the way; we may be related species, but we are not true cousins in any familial sense, any more than, for instance, a housecat and a tiger can be familial cousins."
"Yes, I see your point. Foolish of me," said Nibbler. He sighed and glanced at the curb.
"You seem…what is the word again?...somewhat 'dejected'," said Kyubey.
"Somewhat, yes. As much as we Nibblonians can be. I just tore a…special young man away from his life in the 21st century. He'll never see his old friends or family again, or even the world he knew. Flawed and imperfect though they may have been, they were still what made up his world and defined him. His friends and family will likely worry, and after a certain amount of time has passed and he's still nowhere to be found, they will likely give in and write him off as another fading memory. And then, a thousand years from now, this lad will have to rebuild his life from the ground up all at once in a completely unfamiliar world, surrounded by completely new people—and other beings—completely new routines, and completely new attitudes." He paused as a particularly loud set of fireworks went off over New York Harbor. "A lesser mind might completely break under that sudden pressure. Of course, I know all about your duties, as well as their...effects." Nibbler sighed again. "Sometimes I wish I too completely lacked emotions. It would make tasks like this somewhat easier."
"But this work still absolutely must be done, Lord Nibbler. Both mine and yours. Our race is the oldest in the universe; should we not allow other beings the opportunity to experience all the wonders and discoveries we have encountered?"
"Indeed, I and the Council of Forever realize the importance of halting, or at least delaying, the curse of entropy; just as we were certain that this certain lad is the only known being in this and any universe or timeline, who can halt the curse of the Brainspawn. But I still cannot help but occasionally wonder…is it worth a life? Is it completely right?"
Kyubey turned away from the waiting Neutral Planet ship in the adjacent vacant lot, back toward Nibbler. "Occasionally I have to remind Puellae of that old Incubator saying, and I suppose I should bring it up again: 'Right and wrong are just words; what matters is what you do. And when you do things right, no one will be sure you've done anything at all'. Anyway, I'm glad you succeeded in your mission tonight, and all those who are now and who shall be for the next thousand years would wholeheartedly agree. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm needed in Port-au-Prince. Again, Happy New Millennium."
The small black alien was indeed familiar with that old Incubator saying, and had never been sure of whether to be encouraged or disturbed by it, at least as much as a Nibblonian can be.
But either way, with the Y2K bug now revealed as a false alarm, Fry in the cryogenic tube ready to meet his ultimate purpose, and the threat of entropy put off for another millennium, God was still in His heaven, and all was right with the universe. As tragic the consequences of these cosmic duties could be, and whether or not right and wrong were indeed "just words", Nibbler knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that certain duties did have to be fulfilled at all cost.
And no one would have to be sure about it at all.
I'm surprised there haven't been any other Madoka/Futurama crossovers yet, especially with all the "timey-wimey" stuff in the Futurama DVD's. Did Homura find out the hard way that all time clones are doomed? ;) Maybe that's why she kept failing…
It's actually been a while since I've seen any Futurama, do you think I got Nibbler right? He does seem to have some emotions, though obviously not as strong as most of the cast. Like I said, I just think of his race as having slightly higher emotional strength than their fluffy white cousins.