Open to conference room. Everyone present except the Professor; Hermes stands
up to start the meeting...
"Well, since dere's no deliveries this morning
it's about time we cleaned dis place up." Hermes checks his clipboard;
"Fry, you and Bender take de lounge, and dis time t'row the trash away
instead of putting it in the storeroom! Amy, you got the storeroom, Leela;
the kitchen, and Zoidberg; the medlab. Dis afternoon we all work on the hanger
and the ship." He checks off another box, stamps the form, and walks whistling
from the room.
"Damn", mutters Fry. "This the second
day this week we've had to work and it's only Thursday!" He and
Bender walk off, and as they pass by the kitchen, Fry hurls his almost empty
Bachelor Chow bowl at the sink, bouncing it off the wall, and scattering pieces
around the room. Unnoticed, Leela looks up from where she is kneeling on the
floor with a sponge, scowling as a piece of Chow rolls off her forehead. As
they enter the lounge, they pass a door marked "Storeroom", standing
open to an enormous pile of Slurm cans, Old Fortran beer bottles, pizza boxes,
cigar butts, and oil cans. From beneath the pile sticks a pink-sweatsuit-clad
"Blast him!!!", Leela mumbles, returning
to scrubbing an unidentified and not quite still layer of something off the
Suddenly she sits back on her heels, the stain forgotten
as it slowly oozes towards a crack in the wall. She knew without a doubt how
he felt about her. She just couldn't accept that without some physical manifestation
of it. "If he would try... just ONCE..." she thought. "...I'd
Professor Farnsworth appeared in the doorway;
"Ah, there you are, Captain. I need your help with an experiment, if you
Jolted, Leela looked down at the now spotless floor,
glanced around and replied; "Well, I guess I'm done here."
As she followed the Professor to his private lab,
she couldn't resist asking; "This isn't dangerous, is it? I mean, after
last week, when..."
Farnsworth waved his hand. "Not in the least,
girl. And besides, the Earth Army has most of the turnips eliminated by now,
they say." He stopped, looked around, and lowered his voice. "That's
part of why I'm doing this experiment; to help pay the bill for that. It's
an intelligence gathering and recording machine for determining the truth."
"But Professor", Leela smiled inwardly,
"Truth detectors have existed since the Stupid Ages, and they haven't worked
any better since then, and even less on aliens."
"Yes, but this is different", the Professor
started again towards the lab. "This started out as a mind control machine,
but I reversed the process and removed most of the amplification circuit. This
records images of the persons' feelings and thoughts, directly from that deep
uncontrollable part of the brain that can't be fooled. Not even the best-trained
diplomat can hide their true goals! Lying will be eliminated." He looked
down. "Stupid mind control laws."
He led Leela to a regular chair, and put a helmet-shaped
headset on her. Several fiber-optic cables ran from it to a console with a
viewing screen on the table. "Think of something, anything." He said.
"When you've decided, just push the button."
Leela looked down and saw a panel on the chair. A
red button marked "Record", and a green one marked "Play".
So simple even Fry could figure it out. Leela sighed, tried to clear her mind,
and pushed the red one. She had a sudden light-headed feeling. She was still
aware of her surroundings, but more as background chatter. For some reason
she couldn't understand or control, Fry's face came to mind. A cute face, like
a puppy going for a walk. A desire to help, even when he knew he was in over
his head. An almost suicidal optimism about jumping into any situation when
he thought she or Bender was in trouble. Loyal. She could help him...
The professor turned to his panel, which was covered
in pizza boxes and Slurm cans. "Damn you, Fry!!!" He exclaimed as
he shoved the mess out of the way.
"Damn you, Fry..." "Damn You,
FRY!..." "DAMN YOU, FRY!!!!..."
Leela's vision blurred. "Cute? Try Vacant,
Stupid! Help? Yeah, and every time something blows up!! Brave?? That's just
all that brain-rotting video!!! Loyal??? Then why has he bedded down every
woman he meets if he's so LOYAL?????"
Smoke came out of the console, followed by a pop,
and the screen blanked out. "Oh my", the Professor remarked. "You
go on, now." he told Leela as she stood up. "I'll have it fixed tonight
for another test. Yes."
Completely forgotten by the Professor as he began
working on the panel, Leela walked back towards the kitchen for a drink. She
was confused, very confused. Did she really feel that way about Fry?
She could not explain why she was upset every time he was with any other woman,
she just was. As she passed the door to the lounge, she could hear them.
"Come on, Bender. We really do need to do something!"
"Hey, give me a break. I'm doing my part. I've
picked up 20 beer bottles!"
"Yeah, so what? You drank 30!"
Leela stood in the doorway, Bender and Fry sat on
the couch, the floor so deep in trash you couldn't tell the color of the carpet.
All My Circuits was on the video, and they were riveted to the screen.
[ Back in the lab, Professor Farnsworth gazes at a
panel, rubs his chin, and pulls out a part. "Hmmmmm. I'd better fix that."
He glances at the door to the hallway. "Oh well, no harm done, and the
effects should wear off in a few minutes." ]
"YOU GET OFF YOUR LAZY ASSES NOW!!!!" Fry
and Bender jump to their feet, dropping their drinks. Fry's eyes bug out as
he sees Leela with a face of absolute rage, hands on hips, standing in the doorway.
Leela surveyed the scene, her eye closed to a venomous slit. "If this
isn't finished in an hour, I'll make you both wish you hadn't come from whatever
methods created you!" She then stomped off down the hall.
"Geeze, what got into her?" Bender asked.
"It must be mating season on her home planet,
just like Star Trek.", Fry guessed. He glanced around. "Maybe she'd
feel better if we picked up a few things." He bent down to dig a can out
of the pile. She was really mad.
Leela was balancing the ship engines. Routine work,
and her brain was 92% free for other things. "I can't be THAT mad at
him. It's just that he gets along with everyone he meets, and I have to try
so hard... But that's not his fault, he has two eyes..."
Eyes. Leela froze, bringing that other 8% of her
brain to bear on target. Eye. The only one who Loves her and because of
her eye, or maybe what it had made her. She must do something about that.
Another 12% of brain came from somewhere hidden to help out. Fry stared at
her a lot, and she would bet it wasn't because she had cooties. The other women...
a little encouragement would stop that too. "Damn it!, she was a woman,
and better than any man she knew deserved."
"Whoa, girl", she admonished herself, "There's
the problem." Her friends and dates had constantly failed to measure up
to her standards of self-discipline and control, and that made her list them
in that part of her mind that says "Not Good Enough". Did
she ever determine what would make them good enough? Who was she to
judge, anyway? She had slept with Zapp. Zapp!! That meant she could be as
stupid and low as anyone else. Maybe she and Fry could do something normal,
off duty, like a picnic. No Bender. No Amy. Just them. Talk. Begin. She
finished one last adjustment, closed the panel, and walked off towards the lounge
to tell Fry they had plans this afternoon.
In the lounge, Bender was standing with his chest
panel open, drinking a beer. Fry had a shovel, and was loading trash into Bender's
cavity. When it was full, Bender threw the bottle in, closed the panel, and
pushed his antenna down. There was a whirring, grinding noise, and when it
finished, the panel popped open and there was only a disc at the bottom. Fry
took the disc out and sailed it to the recycle bin against the wall. "Wow,
nice carpet!", Fry said. "I never saw that before." Bender
was pounding on the couch cushions. "Hey Fry", He remarked, "These
won't flatten out." Embedded in the cushions for all eternity was one
large round and two smaller buttprints. "Yeah", Fry observed, "My
family was always griping about the same thing back home. We can fix that,
though." He pulled the cushions out and flipped them over. Unfortunately,
the reverse side had a set of identical, but deeper, buttprints. "Just
like home." Fry sighed. "I forgot we did that last year when we cleaned
They heard loud footsteps coming down the hall. They
stopped in front of the storeroom. "My God!!", Leela yelled, "What
happened here??" Assorted crashing, rattling, and banging noises ensued
from the storeroom. Bender turned his head completely around looking for a
place to hide, gave up, and looked at Fry. "Time for a recharge cycle."
He decided, as his body went into shutdown mode and his eye cover closed. Fry
knew it was shutdown mode, because it was the only time he didn't have a drink
or a cigar in his hand. Fry peeked around the door. Leela was dragging something
pink from beneath a clattering pile of trash. He saw a chance for escape, and
ducked across the hall into the lab. Closing the door, he looked for another
route around his angrier than usual Captain. His nephew was apparently elsewhere
at the moment.
He passed the chair in the center of the room, and
noticed the console. "Wow, a TV and stereo in one." He picked
up a tape labeled "Leela - Emotion Test 1". Putting it in the player,
he sat in the chair, putting the bowl-shaped headset on. He looked around,
feeling slightly guilty about this, but maybe it had something to do with her
unusual mood today. It only took him a moment to figure out the controls, and
he pressed "Play".
Mist. Light. Fry's own face, staring innocently
out into space. A feeling of affection. Images from the Holophoner. "Whhoooo,
yyesssss!!! She thinks I'm cute!!"
Shift: Fry. Crippling the ship, mistaking the
fuel dump switch for an ice dispenser. Fry, cross wiring the navigation panel
because he wanted to go to the nudist planet. Fry, ignoring her when she was
lonely and in real need of comfort, or even just a kind word. Fry, with Amy,
pictured through a red haze of pain and anger. Fry, denying her...
Shift: Fry. The odors. A drunk careening off
walls and falling down steps. A festering, pus-covered, stinking body hypnotized
by a video unit, only distinguishable from a corpse because a corpse looks better.
"God! Please!! NOO!!!" Fry ripped
off the helmet. He sat there, lead lowered between his knees, gasping for air.
Choking, sick to his stomach, and barely able to see through water-filled eyes,
he fought to his feet and ran through the far door. Outside the building, he
collapsed onto the curb, his legs unable to keep him upright. After an eternity
and a half, Fry was finally able to breathe. Images, lights, and feelings flashed
back and forth between his eyes. "You finally believe how worthless
you really are now." Part of his brain broke off from the mess of
his thoughts to laugh at him. "You really thought a woman like that
could Love a wretched pile of rat puke like YOU!! Ha ha HA HAAA, that's rich!"
Finally, Fry had control over himself again. He stood
up, took a look around, and walked off. He finally reached Bender's apartment
and collapsed on the bed. Sometime later he woke. Maybe he even had slept.
Had there been any calls? Time? Who cares? He sorted out what few personal
small items he had accumulated in the time he'd been awake into a Slurm shoulder
bag (FREE! With 12,000 proofs of purchase). A few last details, and soon enough
he found himself on the street again. It was dark. He started walking at random.
He wanted to say goodbye to his friends, but didn't
want a scene. Leela would gladly drop him into the sun, but he owed his nephew
a note at least. He went back to the Planet Express building. The side door
he left through was unlocked, and he found himself back in the lab. It was
dark, but various indicators in machinery added together for a dim glow of white,
red, and green background lighting. He wrote a note to the Professor, apologizing
for any trouble he had caused and explained that he had an opportunity elsewhere
he simply had to pursue. He would call as soon as possible. It just kind of
ended. He felt too drained of emotion to go any farther.
"Emotion!" Fry whipped around, his
eyes on the hateful Chair. "Two can play that game! She thinks she's
miss perfect! Follow me! Listen to ME!" He found a tape, pushed
it into the player, and jammed the helmet onto his head. Eyes clouded in hatred,
his brain reduced to that bare survival level necessary to sustain life, his
shaking finger pushed the "Record" button.
Later, as Fry walked back onto the street, he looked
up at the sky. His head felt strangely calm. He felt purged of all emotions,
as if the machine had erased them. How much of the real Fry was left? "Well,
loser? What now? I have to go somewhere so out of reach, so primitive, they
could never find me." He suddenly knew the perfect hiding place to
start over from. They would never consider even him to be that stupid.
He turned left at the corner, adjusted his bag, took a deep breath, and began
walking towards the New Jersey border.
Leela finished the last item of ship checks and walked
towards the kitchen, wiping her hands on a towel. Nobody had seen Fry, not
even Bender once she knocked him awake. Maybe it wouldn't work. She looked
around, thinking that she heard a door slam in the Professor's lab. No one
else was here. She opened the door and walked into the center of the room,
her eye adjusting to the dim light.
"Hello??" Leela scanned the room. No movement,
no sound, just an occasional blinking light. As she turned, she saw a note
on the table. It was just TO LEELA and the paper was stuck to one of
the professor's new tapes. Fry? She placed the tape in the input slot, sat
down, and adjusted the headset. Closing her eyes, she pressed "Play".
Mist: Light. Leela. Standing tall, arms crossed,
her face a mask of rage, screaming at everyone. Leela; judge, jury, executioner
of peoples hopes and dreams. Leela...
Shift: Leela. A fixed look of determination as
she flies the ship through a maze of exploding cannon fire, missles, planets
and ships. Leela, pistols in both hands, blazing away at attacking hoards of
slobbering aliens. Leela...
Shift: Mixed images from Fry's world. Leela sat
at a table in a casino. She looked down at her dress; a form-fitting burgundy
creation that showed off quite a bit of... Blushing, Leela looked up to see
Fry across the table. Fry? Wearing an immaculate tuxedo, he reached out, took
her hand in his, and smiled. "The names' Fry." He said. "Phillip
Shift: There was noise. She was leaning against
a stone. Her clothing had changed to some green, mottled pattern. Fry knelt
by her side, concern foremost in his face. He was now wearing black pants and
vest with a white shirt. Men in strange white armor suits were firing wildly
all around. Several pointed their lasers at them. It was curtains. Under
her tunic she felt an odd but comfortable laser pistol. She pulled it out between
herself and Fry. He looked down, then into her eye and smiled. "I Love
you." was all he said. She gazed back at his adoring face. "I know.”...
Shift: She was standing on a cloud. She was wearing
a gown of the finest white silk. The gown and gloves were set with every imaginable
precious gem in the universe. The glimmer was brighter than the noonday sun.
Her head was crowned with a tiara that it hurt to look at. Somehow, all of
this was not as bright as the shine in her eye. Fry, dressed in everyday clothes,
walked up to her and placed a banner around her shoulder, with a cape spun from
the purest starry space to flow behind her, and knelt at her feet. She looked
down. The banner read Miss Everything. She looked at his face. It
was strangely calm. His eyes were fixed upon her, so wide she could see her
own reflection in them. Deep as infinity, she shone in them larger than life.
It was THE look, and a woman would crawl over broken glass to find it.
There were other images intermingled, one after the
other, as if Fry couldn't focus any longer. Leela in some wispy purple filmy
thing no decent woman would wear... She felt her face burning... And through
it all, the cloud image. The clouds... His eyes...
"Leela?" A voice from across the void.
The real world pulled at her. An itch. "No! Go away!"
Fry reached up and took the band from her ponytail.
Her hair floated in all directions from some stray breeze. He cupped a hand
on either side of her head and pulled her face towards him. He stared at her,
tears running down his face. "Toronga, I've never heard you laugh."
"Leela!" The images began to fade. "Please!"
she begged, "Real sucks! I want THIS... Him..."
The dreams of all her life were in those eyes, and
she had to find him... To say...
"Leela, Wake up, woman!"
The images disappeared. Reality returned with an
almost audible Snap. Leela gasped, looked around, tried to focus. "Where
are my clouds?" Slowly she returned to now. Daylight shone through
the windows. How long had she been gone? She looked around. Hermes stood
in front of her, holding the headset. Her hand twitched of its own accord.
"I want that BACK!!" went through her mind. She shook her
head clear. There was Bender, and Amy with several bandages and a torn sweatsuit;
the Professor was staring at the console, and Zoidberg rooting through the trash.
Leela's head snapped around so fast it hurt. She
leapt straight up and spun, so quickly that Hermes stepped back. "Where's
Fry??" She said with a small edge of panic pushing into her voice.
Professor Farnsworth turned and looked towards Leela.
"Ahh, well, there's been a slight problem. It appears that I needed to
make a few adjustments, and... well..."
Hermes screwed up his courage. "Fry's gone."