Bend or Bender
Part: 1 of 1
Content: Nothing to speak of, some mild show-based adult content
Type/Catagory: Romance, Humor
Characters: Main Cast
Pairing: Bender/Countess; Bender/Planet Express Ship
Cannon: Post "A Flight To Remember"
Summary: When a ragingly sober Bender asks the Professors' What If Machine what his life would be like if he'd married the Countess DeLaRoca, he doesn't receive an answer...which provides an answer in itself...
Archical rights: Automatic archival at the BCE Archive, Kai's Page and ND.net. All others may ask, send a URL, and provide full disclaimers as well as credit me fully. Please inform me if you are going to submit my work to any sort of search engine. Please do not submit my work to a search engine that picks out random sets of words and uses them as key words, such as "Google"
Distribution rights: Please contact me in order for this story to be placed on an archive, or if you want know of a friend who would enjoy my works, please email me their address and I will mail them the stories, expressly for the purpose of link trading. MiSTiers are welcomed! Please do inform me that you'd like to do the MiSTing, however, and send me a copy of the finished product. I'd also love to archive any MiSTings that are made of my work!
Disclaimer: All characters owned and created by Matt Groening and owned by Curiosity Company/Fox. It is not meant to reflect on the sexuality of the actual involved parties. This piece of fanfiction is not intended to misrepresent actual events and bears no resemblance to any event that has ever occurred in reality, past or present. It is not meant to disparage the used character trademarks or used persons. No copyright infringement is intended, and the author is not making any money from the publication of this story.
NOTES: All dream sequences are bolded; differences in Bender's speech patterns are in italics
Thank you to Tamony and Dave for beta.
He was sober. Nothing good could come of that.
The world inside of this building was bleary. Metallic tones of gray and white made the works industrial and forbidding. He pushed heedlessly through the fragile glass walls.
He understood that, somewhere, hidden among these beeping, bright buttons, lay the object he sought.
"Crap," he muttered, knocking over unseen objects with a metallic clank. Finally, he discovered what he had been yearning for; in his sober state, the object seemed bottle-shaped, and his sensors told him it was cold...
He glared. Dry as paper.
"Lousy piece a...." He paused, poking the object. "Hey, this's the Professor's What If machine..." A diabolical gleam appeared in his large eyes. "Heh heh...Maybe I can sell it for booze..."
He set it down among the test-tubes, trying to figure out what it did. The fact that he didn't understand it only made him angrier, made him throw the box at the wall. He was so weak it was not destroyed.
Bender stared at its curious glow.
"You wanna know what I wanna know, you lousy piece of crap? I wanna know...why the Countess is dead! So you show me what it would be like if she were alive!"
The machine buzzed at him, delivering only a blank screen.
"YOU HEARD ME! SHOW ME! DON'T MAKE ME CUT YOU!"
But the screen was unresponsive.
"You wanna be a wiseguy?" He pushed up his metallic sleeves, then paused, reason taking hold. "Wait a minute! I got a better idea!"
The PE Crew arrived at the office the following morning to be greeted by the "What If" machine...with a sign propped against it reading 'useless piece of junk, $25' in a lopsided scrawl.
"Bender, I know you're a greedy drunk, but please have the decency to drop your date off in the morning!" Leela complained.
"What? That ain't my date; that's some hunk of junk or whatever."
"Isn't that the Professor's What If Machine?" Amy inquired, poking at it.
"What's it to you?"
"Fairly decent news, everybody!" the Professor announced, entering the room.
He caught sight of the machine and paused, stricken.
"What is it, Professor?"
"My machine! What is my beautiful machine doing prostrating its nakedness for everyone to see?" He covered it up with gentle arms.
Every eye in the room turned to Bender.
"You ain't gonna put me on trial! You can't; I've already been court marshaled for beatin' some betamax in Times Square!"
"Why did you destroy my beautiful progeny, Bender?"
"Because it wouldn't tell me what my life woulda been like if I'd married the Countess De La Roca!"
"Aww!" Leela cried.
"Yes, aww," said Professor Farnsworth, his tone clipped. He began to fiddle with the machine, then frowned. "There isn't anything wrong with the machine, Bender. In fact, it seems that you've improved it drastically by some unknown means."
Bender gasped. "So if it won't tell me what my future woulda been like without the Countess, that means....The Countess really is alive!!"
"Yes!" The Professor responded.
"Yeah," added an uninterested Amy.
"Yeah," said a dreamy-sounding Leela.
Fry looked up from the fascinating game he'd been playing with his thumb.
"Look, Fry! Photographic representations of nude women!"
"Where?!" Fry scampered off in pursuit.
The Professor turned to Leela. "In anticipation of this scenario, I crafted something that will help you find the remains of the Titanic!" He dug into his pocket and withdrew a metallic clip the size of his thumbnail. "Simply attach this to your wrist computer, Leela, and you will be able to find the Countess!"
"But how?" Leela wondered.
"During my stay on the Titanic, I busied myself by randomly distributing magnetic tracking devices throughout the ship. I happened to plant one on the Countess the afternoon before the disaster. This receiver will pick up the frequency the transmitter is broadcasting."
"Professor, you keep finding new ways to scare me." Leela noted, dry-voiced.
"Why thank you, Leela."
In the vast middle of space, the PE ship coasted on. Bender stared morosely into the endlessness.
"Bender, what's wrong? You sick? Murderously angry? It's murderous anger, isn't it?" Fry wondered.
"I'm wonderin' what I'm gonna do when I see the Countess, or if she wants to see me."
"Yeah; I felt the same way when I lost a sock two years ago..."
"It's gone now, but I still have my memories!"
"Fry, stop being stupid," Leela retorted. "Bender, buckle down; I'm putting this thing into hyperdrive! We need to get through this constellation to find the opposite end of the black hole that consumed the Countess!"
Bender, for once, did what he was told automatically. Planets sped by in creamy streaks; for once, Fry didn't notice them. His attentions were focused solely on the robot and his uncharacteristic seriousness. He didn't even stir when they burst through a bright gathering of stars, slowing as they found a blackness unfamiliar to their eyes.
"According to the coordinates the Professor gave us, I need to follow through this...past this guiding star..." Through the ink-blackness of negative space, they saw a disk that bore all the shiny qualities of a new marble, but twice the size. As they approached, swirls of red and white glowed on the surface. "That's it! Planet Seymour!"
The crew braced for impact as Leela thrust the craft through the planet's atmosphere. Though they had anticipated a smooth landing, the atmosphere was unexpectedly dense. The ship began to struggle against the external pressure.
Engines revving desperately, the ship began to break apart as it fell toward the surface. Leela's panicked shouts didn't penetrate Bender's determined fog, though Fry could barely contain his fear as the ship's fins began to peel away. There wasn't time enough to panic, to even react, before the ship hurtled to the ground with a wrenching thud.
Silence surrounded the craft for a breathless fifteen minutes. Gradually, sounds of life returned; dust rose in clouds as Leela kicked open the crumpled door. Fry, limp and slung over her shoulder, seemed unconscious. Leela's right hand gripped Bender's antenna and used it as a handle by which to pull him out of the wreckage.
She tossed man and machine onto the rocky ground, sitting down beside them and panting uncontrollably.
"Thanks, Leela," Fry wheezed.
"I wasn't going to let either of you die." She eyed the wreck. "I'm glad I downloaded our coordinates into my computer." Leela glanced at her wrist and experimentally flipped a few switches; to her relief, it still worked.
"What are we going to do?" Fry wondered aloud, sitting up.
"Walk," Leela looked toward the sky and noticed a beaten pathway in the blue surface below them. "We'll follow this path. According to my computer, What we're looking for is a few miles away. All we need to do is follow the signal."
"You mean I gotta walk for a mile?" Bender, just coming around, seemed to notice her last words more keenly.
"Or you can stay with the ship."
He thought upon those options for a moment. "I'm goin' with you. But the fleshbag here.." He opened his compartment, taking out a large, obsidian-colored square. "-is gonna carry this."
Fry grunted as he took the heavy square from Bender.
"What is it?" Leela wondered.
"The Noximony Ring; ten pounds of pure carbonite," Bender sniffled. "Bought it specially for her."
"Bender, we don't even know that the Countess is alive," Fry panted.
"Bought it? It must be love!" Leela remarked.
"Yeah; that woman's everything a bot could desire in a fembot! She's got a knockout bod made by Mom, a classy accent software, and with that sincerity simulator of hers, I think she really likes ME."
"I think it's sweet, and romantic, and..."
"Backbreaking! Leela, help!" Fry strained beneath the load of carbonite.
She held back a moan of disgust and helped Fry hoist it onto his shoulder, remaining by his side as they continued down the beaten path.
Leela's usually endless reserve of strength began to wane as the path widened. The sensor she carried next to her wrist computer beeped irregularly, gradually increasing in tempo.
At the end of the path there rose a city, glittering white in the sun, apparently made of pure marble. At the sight, Leela came to a halt.
"The tracker's leading me...this way!" She paid no attention to Fry's complaints as she pulled him down a cobbled street, to the tune of the wrist monitor's incessant blat.
When it was emitting a solid, high-pitched tone, they stood before a set of huts completely unlike the glorious buildings that made up the rest of the town. Thatched with bright green grass, it stood out like an emerald jewel among the plain white city around them.
Fry sagged against the brown outer walls of the hut, wheezing from the effort of matching Leela's stride. She boldly parted the grass curtain, peering through it.
An old woman, wizened, her skin baggy and wrinkled, hobbled to the door.
"Hello; would you happen to have something big and red that beeps in your shack?"
"Nah," the woman muttered. "But the washer's on the fritz again."
Leela glanced over her shoulder; a familiar-looking robot knelt on the floor of the hut, scrubbing the woman's laundry with a basin and washboard, her expression glazed. A red sensor sat on the crown of her hat, beeping wildly. And in a clipped British accent, she sang show tunes.
"It's the Countess!" Bender whispered.
"Are you the repairman I called? They said it would take three months for you to get here, and I called a YEAR ago!"
"Uh, yeah!" Fry agreed. "But now we're in the bartering business!"
"Yes!" Leela jumped in. "If you find someone to repair our ship...we'll replace your washing machine with this one!"
Bender snapped out of his reverie. "HEY! I don't do laundry!"
"Sorry; he just needs an attitude adjustment." Remembering the tracking device magnetized to her wrist computer, she adeptly smacked it onto Bender's head. Instantly, he began to dance and sing. "There!"
"All right; I know someone next door who does rocket repairs. I'll ax him to take care of your ship. Just train this one well; I'm tired of the Julie Andrews songs, already!"
Once the woman had toddled out of her hut, Leela pulled the magnets from the robots' heads. Simultaneously, their visions cleared, and they saw one another.
"Bender! I feared I might never see you again!"
The Countess threw her arms around him.
"Aww!" Leela smiled.
"Oww..." Fry muttered, the carbonite still weighing him down.
"Why didn't ya try to call?"
"After I finished my tumble through that terrible black hole, something hit me upon the head. I've been singing songs ever since. And I'm bloody well sick of Julie Andrews myself!"
"I've got so much to tell ya! I...uh...well...I..."
"Drank all year?"
"That's just what I knew you were going to say! Our operating systems are so perfectly harmonized!"
"Aww, here!" Bender grabbed the stone...and Fry...dragging him toward the Countess. "It ain't much, but I've been savin' all week to buy it for you!"
"Buy! Oh, Bender, we swore that we would only steal the best for one another!"
"Well, I hope ya like it anyway..."
"It's marvelous! I've never owned a human before!"
"What? Wait!" Fry yelped.
"Sorry, Countess, my best friend ain't part of the deal."
"Oh well! The ring is lovely! Look how it doesn't sparkle!" She slipped it onto her finger. "And it would be such a shame to get it wet in this bin..."
"I'll wash it for ya!" Bender dove to his knees.
"And I'll help!" Leela said.
"Can I go with the repairman to the ship? PLEASE?"
It was the first time Fry had ever begged to go for a hike. Leela didn't see any reason she might refuse him.
Two hours later, with laundry clean and the Planet Express Ship skyworthy, the crew traveled in peace toward Earth.
"...So I simply MUST take you back to my homeland, Bender! We'll have a jolly good time!"
"Anything you want, baby!"
"Oh, Bender, you're such a rapscallion."
"Yeah, I am a wonderful, adorable angel!"
The Countess, lost in her rapture, did not notice that his eyes had flashed to a pink shade at those final words...or the strangely feminine tone his voice had taken on...
"What about me, Bender?"
"I thought I got rid of you when they cut your power supply off!"
"Oh, sweetie, you're getting upset. Why don't you just sit down, relax, and help me pick out names for our children!"
"Whattya talkin' about?! I don't LOVE you, Planet Express Ship!"
"Silly! How can you hate me? You ARE me!"
"Wahawah!?" He flailed against the darkness, his visor flying open as he jerked out of sleep mode.
"You were having a processing error of some kind," The Countess remarked. In a moment, reality snapped back into focus; this was his apartment, he was with his countess. What he had dreamed of could not have possibly happened. "Do you need a glass of oil?"
"Nah! Let's just...what's the word for that thing chicks like but guys only do if they're really tired or can't find their keys?"
"Mon, you're lucky I love filin' forms," Hermes grumbled. Bender had arrived, with the Countess in tow, in the middle of the afternoon. Not only was he late for work, but he arrived with the intention of filing for vacation time.
"Yeah; The Countess is gonna show me around to her big-shot relatives. I'm gonna try to get in some griftin', so I've been practicin' my English accent, guvna! See, I've been downloading Dickens to impress the Countess and..."
"And Dickens is what I'm gonna catch if I let this go through," Hermes announced. "You gotta fill out a new set of forms, Bender."
"You miss-spelled 'vacation'. There's no 'l' in the word."
An even voice entirely unlike Bender's came from his speech grill. "I don't think you want to do that, Hermes."
"I'm not fallin' for that fake accent, Bender!"
"Well, maybe you'll fall for...THIS!" Recklessly, the bending unit grabbed a pile of files from his supervisor's desk. "One more step and I shuffle these files like a deck of cards!"
"NOO! You monster! All right! I'll notarize the forms...but I'm usin' the BLUE stamp!"
Bender froze, his gaze narrowing; suddenly he spoke, his voice normal again. "Hey, whatt'm I doin' holdin' this junk?"
"Give me those!"
"Oh, you're done with the papers, eh? That mean I'm off?"
"Yeah, mon, and not a moment too soon!" He grabbed the files away from the robot, clutching them to his chest. "No one's gonna touch a tab on ya now..."
Two hours later, Bender stood on the wide, gray cement portico. Supported by two white pillars, it braced up the sides of a large gray closet, not unlike what Bender called home.
"Woah; this the Ritz?"
"No; it's my mother's summer home. She has another one just like this in Denver...only it's pink."
"Do you really think your mom's gonna like me?"
"Well, I adore you. So my mother will hate you. But we don't need her blessing, do we, snookums?"
"Uhh...I think I left my wallet in the cab..."
"You don't carry a wallet. Let me ring the bell."
That she did; its tone rang emptily through the morning air. The door creaked open, belching a cloud of dust outward toward Bender and the Countess, revealing a short man with heavily tanned skin. His form-fitting tuxedo belied his age...which had to be under twenty-two...his build strong and sturdy, his locks flowing and blond. Neither robot was impressed.
"Countess DeLaRoca! It's been...like...five years, man."
"I've come home to see mother, Chauncy."
"Whatever. I'm gonna go back to my room and level up on 'Bonestorm Extreme'."
Bender followed the progress of the youth, to the Countess' clucking tongue.
"Poor Chauncy; my mother found him in a cardboard box and brought him home for me. We raised him like a puppy, until he insisted on walking on his hind legs."
"Lousy humans, usin' two legs...WAIT! I USE TWO LEGS!"
"Bender, don't worry yourself about our little differences...like your inferior way of transporting yourself! What matters is that we love each other!" She took him by the arm, and together they crossed the threshold of her mother's home.
Inside of the narrow, garret-like structure, the grandest interior existed. Violet, plum, apple red and white assaulted Bender's eyes with the accuracy of a chisel and hammer; elaborate tapestries swathed the walls, thick, overstuffed sofas crowded around ornately carved tables. Sitting behind one such table, holding a porcelain tea cup, was a robot of aristocratic bearing. She resembled the Countess in make and type, though she seemed a bit of a Dowager. Bender unconsciously straightened his bow tie; he didn't care what the woman thought of him, but his mind had filled with the horrifying notion that she might tell The Countess that he was an inferior model.
"Geraldine, Darling! Your skin is just lovely; have you had it waxed? And that dress; the paintjob is smashing!" Her mother's voice, trilling like a lark, somehow made Bender uneasy.
"Yeah, for a fat girl!"
Mother and daughter stared coldly at Bender.
By the time they arrived at dinner that evening, Geraldine was sufficiently wary of Bender's behavior. She couldn't decide if Bender's choice to use a women's voice to make cracks about her appearance was insulting or simply his nervousness at work.
He had gone riding with a cousin of hers and waxed that he had wanted a horse like this "when he was a little girl".
To her credit, she didn't panic. Even when he arrived for the evening meal wearing a blonde wig and an angora sweater.
She would have to confront him in private, away from her mother...If she could get them away from her mother...
"More antifreeze, dudette?"
"Yes, Chauncy." He poured the bright green liquid into a crystal flute. She sipped it gradually as she watched Bender nervously eat.
"Bender, did you enjoy your ride with Count Darcy?"
"Yes, it's not every day a common lowlife such as yourself finds himself riding a rocket-powered horse. Our poor noble stallions must have strained to remove themselves from your stench!!"
"After all, the horse seemed positively puny beside your enormous thighs!"
"Don't say things like that about Bender! He's a lovable, adorable angel...and you would know a lot about enormous thighs, you heifer!"
Bender then ran off sobbing.
"Something is definitely wrong with him."
"Yes, daughter. He's certifiable."
"Mother! Bender may have served in prison and spent time in a mental institution, but he's not crazy!" She tossed her napkin onto the table, speeding after Bender.
She found her boyfriend sitting on a large velvet settee, sobbing violently.
"Bender, I'm sorry Mother upset you."
"Geraldine...there's somethin' goin' on inside me...I dunno what it is...but whatever it is, I'm gonna fix it!" Bender's eyes bulged. "Waitaminute! The nagging voice! No! It's not true!" His voice changed once more. "Bender, what are you doing with this...this...hoochie?" In his masculine voice, he shouted heartily, "She's not a hoochie! She's my girlfriend, and I happen to love her!" In his feminine voice. "But I love you too, Bender! You're my cuddly snooky wookum!"
"Bender! What's going on!"
"Ya know that part I told you about earlier...when I said I wasn't so faithful to ya?"
"I melded minds with the Planet Express Ship...And he's never been happier, so BACK off, hoochie! See?"
"Oh dear. Well, there's only one thing that might fix this..."
Bender allowed himself to be led to the Countess' physician. A short examination brought results.
"We need to unmeld their minds! And there's only one way to do that!"
When he saw the forbidding transistors and the shimmering machine, selected to negate the electrical impulses jumping from the section of motherboard the Planet Express Ship now called home, he squared his shoulders, set his jaw...
...and ran like a coward.
They found him in a marshy pond, trying to wade past the swans. They strapped him down, and insisted things would be just right when he awoke.
He bravely closed his eyes and counted empty bottles of Old FORTRAN.
"I'm not going to let them hurt us, Bender..."
"They ain't trying to hurt us! They're tryin' to get your sissy, perfumed, sensitive spirit outta MY badass body!"
"I don't want to live in another body. Why would I, when I have everything I could ever desire in you?"
"Because you deserve a whole new life! Planet Express Ship, I know our break up sucked, but I ain't worth thinkin' about for one more minute. I'm always gonna remember the good times...until they wipe my hard drive. But there's another ship out there who's lookin' for a lady like you, and if you stay in my head, you're never gonna meet him!"
"Will you always love me, Bender?"
"In my way." His words had a personal meaning she could not grasp.
"Another ship...do you think I could still get an aircraft carrier with _my_ body?"
"Are you kidding? With those hulls?! You could keep a whole fleet up for days!"
"You're just saying that!"
"Nope. I mean it. We had a good run, Planet Express Ship."
"I never was good with good-byes..." She planted a kiss upon his cheek. "Goodbye!"
"Goodbye...Goodbye...Goodbye? Hey, why'm I wearin' a wig for? And what'm I doin' strapped to this bed? This your idea of a joke, Countess?"
"No, my love." She kissed his cheek. "I think that was the first time you've ever done something that didn't make me laugh."
"Hey, forget the mushy stuff." He shoved her gently away, sitting up and ripping off the sweater. it's time for your family to get Benderized, baby!"
His stride, so purposeful and masculine, compelled her greatly.
She didn't have the heart to tell him that he still wore a blonde wig perched upon his head.
Lazily, Bender and Countess DeLaRoca floated down a swampy river on the family property.
"Mother certainly has taken a shine to you! This is the longest she's gone without throwing a witty barb in my direction!"
"She's a decent broad." Bender puffed his stogie. "She's sure about you and me bein' unchaperoned!"
"Oh, but we're not...Cousin Reginald is hiding in the bushes, watching us!"
"I see what you're doing! Sinners!" said the bush.
"Uh, yeah...how about a little music?" Bender pulled his banjo from his compartment. He plucked a string, checked the tuning, and began to play:
"Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer true..."
The Countess stopped. "I've never heard that tune before. Is it something you Yanks cooked up?"
"Yeah. As a good way to say goodbye."
And he concluded, as they drifted toward the sunset:
"It won't be a stylish marriage-oh yeah!-I can't afford a carriage!-work with me, baby!"