"Give me steam,
and how to feel to make it real,
Real as any place you've been..."
(lyrics by Peter Gabriel).
Amy Wong saw a familiar blip on the computer screen in Professor Farnsworth's lab, and thought it important to bring it to his attention.
"Professor, how accurate is this monitor of yours?"
"It should be very accurate. Why?"
"Well, according to your monitor, we have another hole opening up to a new universe."
"Really? Which one? I hope to God it's not that darned Zombie Verse - I hate the way those things walked, shuffling along. Gives me the creeps…"
"No, it says here that it's Universe #1899, the Steamverse, whatever that is. Have you ever charted it?"
"I'm really not familiar with it." Now Farnsworth looked over with a concerned look on his face. "Lord, where is it going to pop open at?"
Amy studied the screen. "Actually, it's below us...in the sewers."
"Phew, that's a relief! We won't have to worry then."
This drew a worried look from Amy. "But Leela is down there visiting her family."
"Amy...the hole will only be a few meters wide; what chance is there of her coming in contact with it?"
Leela always tried to help every time she got back home. After dinner she took the trash out. "Why am I doing this?" she grumbled. "This is the sewer - no one is even going to come by to pick up the trash anyway."
As Leela walked back to the house, she felt something mushy underfoot. On her next footfall, she very quickly discovered that there was no floor under her boot. Before she could recover her balance, she found herself falling through the floor of the sewer. It all happened so fast, that she had no idea what was going on.
Professor Farnsworth gazed at the screen. "Now, you see? The hole closed up again. No harm done."
Amy squeezed her eyes. "It's so easy for someone your age to just say, 'No harm done.' I'm going to worry until Leela gets back here."
Turanga Leela swore bitterly as she climbed up from the ooze on the cobblestones.
"Stupid sewers...when are they going to fix them?" She then looked up from where she fell. “There’s no hole…”
Leela looked around. With what light that was available, she couldn't identify where she was. "Momma? Dad? Where's the house?" After walking to the next intersection, she looked in either direction. "Where's the Port Authority Tunnel? None of this makes any sense."
Leela decided to take a ladder to the above-ground world.
Leela emerged from the sewer into a world like she had never imagined. There were no travel tubes. No space vehicles leaving the spaceport. No one had any hoops on their shoulders. As she walked down the cobblestone streets she kept seeing vehicle traffic unlike anything she'd ever seen - the cars were steam-powered, and made a gentle hissing noise as they drove on past.
A man in a coat said something to her. “I’d cover that if I were you.”
She turned. “Cover what?”
The man pointed to her eye. “That.” As he got ready to light his pipe, a green tentacle from under his coat emerged with a box of matches.
Leela dumped her hair in front of her eye. “Uh, thanks…I guess.”
He gave her a quick wave and went about his way.
She then walked in front of a hotel without a clue as to what to do. From behind her she heard a gruff voice.
"Woman, are you going to help me with my bags or not?"
She turned around to see a steam-powered sedan with a grumpy old man at the wheel. Her hair was still down in front of her eyes.
"Come, come woman, I haven't got all day."
"Do I get a tip if I help you?"
"If you can get it done some time this year, yes."
Leela took the man's luggage into the hotel, and he paid her a whole six pennies for the effort. He was less than grateful, telling her that "she was overpaid." She at least now had bus fare, and was able to buy a pair of cheap sunglasses from a drugstore with two cents to spare. I'm stuck here for now, thought Leela, and I'll have to work to eat.
Leela then spotted a street vendor nearby. “Hey lady – come over and try my newest masterpiece; it sits right here on a bun. I don’t have a clue as to what to call it yet, but I think people will like it.”
Leela held it up. “Well, it’s a hot dog for starters. And you should charge a penny for it, to get people interested.”
The vendor accepted the penny and Leela was on her way. “Hot dog,” he said to himself, “hot dog. That’s a really great name! Hey, thanks lady! I’m off to make some more hot dogs. Hot dogs! Hot dogs here…”
As she ate her hotdog, she spotted a newspaper boy. She held up her penny, and the boy gave her a paper. He then gave her a small coin in return. “It’s only a half-penny paper, ma’am.”Leela looked at the odd coin. “A half-penny,” she mused. She then began looking at the headlines of the New York Bugle Dispatch in her hands.
President McKinley to address Congress on the televisual.
Captain Zapp Brannigan completes airship crossing from Chicago to Peking in record time; he talks of making the same trip in an aeroplane someday.
Crowds in curious costumes attend the first ever scienti-fiction convention hosted by writer H. G. Wells.”
After hunting through the paper, Leela spotted an ad for Planet Express. “Finally.”
The add featured a huge airship and the slogan, “Our crews are expendable; your packages aren’t.” She then spotted a steam-powered bus pulling up; its sign above the driver announced that it was bound for the west side of Manhattan. She had the 2 penny fare needed for the ride.
When Leela stepped off of the rickety bus, she looked up in wonder at the old gothic-style red brick building. She gazed up at the sign over the door, with its ancient typeface - "Planet Express Zeppelin Service...now serving the Tri-State Area, and parts west." She opened the door and a bell rang on the other side of it. As she walked into the lobby, she looked up at a black and white framed picture of Queen Victoria.
"Can I help you?"
Leela turned and saw a young woman at a booth. She'd been licking envelopes when she spotted Leela.
"Do you have a package to deliver?" the woman asked in a thick cockney accent. "Even though it’s only Michaelmas, it's not too early to send packages for Xmas."
“You know, the beginning of autumn. Can I help you?”
"I used to work here...I mean, I've worked here...sort of."
"Oh. Are you looking for a job? The Old Man is looking for a pilot."
"I do fly."
The woman couldn't hide her enthusiasm. "What do you fly? Steam-powered aircraft? Zeppelins?"
"Zeppelins?" Leela looked over at a poster with one of the lighter-than-air craft on it. "Zeppelin…I can fly a zeppelin."
"Fine...I'll let the old buzzard know you're in."
The woman pulled a horn with a rubber tube attached to it. "Professor F, we have a possible pilot for you to interview."
Farnsworth's familiar voice came back through the device, though muffled. "That is good news. Pray, do send her in."
Leela checked her sunglasses with her finger as she spotted another sign. "Help Wanted: Mutants Need Not Apply."
“I guess someone here doesn’t like mutants…” It made Leela a bit sad, knowing that her counterpart wasn't here.
"Oh, the Old Man would have an eppie if one were to come in here for a job. Your name please?"
I'm Miss Moneyfarthing, by the way; Henrietta Moneyfarthing. My friends just call me Hettie." As she started typing on her computer, she swore under her breath. "Bloody piece of junk."
"Can I help? I'm good with computers." She glanced over the booth.
"No problem...just needs fuel." Miss Moneyfarthing slid open a small drawer on the side of the primitive device and poured in some tiny coal chips. She shut the drawer and Leela could see the bright orange glow of fire in the back of the machine. Her large round CRT screen began to come back to life with its Windows logo in Old English letters. "Can you believe it - we still run on Windows 1897."
"Maybe it needs a reboot..."
"You're right." She kicked the machine hard with her boot. "Now...where were we?"
As Miss Moneyfarthing gathered information on Leela, a familiar red head walked through the lobby. Hettie looked up from her computer. "Fry, could you show Miss Turanga here around the ship?"
Fry's eyes got wide when Leela turned around. "Can I ask you something?"
"Is it about the eye, 'cause if it's about the eye I don't want to hear it."
"Uh...what's with the purple hair?"
She smiled sarcastically. "I dyed my hair, okay? Just show me the ship."
“Come with me, ma’am.”
As they walked out to the hangar, Leela couldn't help but remark on Fry's looks. "You look cute in that peacap, but somehow that mustache just doesn't suit you."
"But I've always had a mustache...well, ever since I was old enough to grow one. I think it looks just swell."
Fry opened a door to the hangar. "Well, here she is – the Planet Express ship."
Leela's mouth opened. "A zeppelin...a real zeppelin. I've only seen these things in history reels." The massive vehicle, nearly 200 feet in length, floated in the air like a child's balloon with an enormous metal ribcage. The control room was slung underneath, with a steam engine and twin propellers just aft of it.
"Is this our pilot?" Leela turned and saw the Professor. He was dressed in an earlier style of lab smock, and sported huge muttonchops on either side of his head. Next to him was a primitive version of Bender, complete with a small stovepipe sticking out of his back which belched out puffs of black smoke.
She looked at Farnsworth. "What's with the ear foliage?"
"What these? I've had them since Chester A. Arthur was in office. Anyway, we've got a delivery going out tonight and it's got to go all the way to Lakehurst."
"Lakehurst? That’s just down in Jersey."
"I can see that you’re a quick study - and we've got to have a pilot when she launches. I'll pay you 12 dollars a week, 15 if you turn out to be a good pilot. I'm in a jam, and I'll have to hire you on the spot. If you work out, I'll keep you."
Leela knew that she needed income for the time that she was there. "I'll take it." She then asked, "By the way - what happened to your last pilot?"
"Africanized killer bees, I think. Fry, get up there and get the coal and the boiler ready for the journey. And make sure that my lazy robot here helps you. Darn it, where's that Amy?"
"Little Boots?" the metal robot chirped. "Probably still in bed."
"At this hour?"
"In somebody's bed...I dunno."
Fry looked sternly at the robot. "Bender, I'll have no more of your gum - that's not a very gentlemanly way to talk in front of a lady. Miss Turanga, Hettie will get you set up with some piloting gear."
Leela was honestly surprised. "Thanks...aren't you the gentleman."
Bender grumbled. "Everyone knows Amy's no better than she ought to be."
Leela walked out of the storage closet with a new leather pilot's helmet, a leather jacket, gloves and goggles; the racist sign about the mutants was still fresh in her mind, so she kept her goggles on.
"You're a natural," Hettie told her.
A young Chinese girl came trotting in from the street. "I'm not late, am I?"
"You'd better hurry your butt in there, Amy - the Old Man is mad as hops."
She turned and spotted Leela. "Oh, hello...you must be our new pilot."
"Look at you...your hair is even bobbed." Leela didn't think she'd ever see Amy in a pink Victorian dress and boots. She even sported a hat and an umbrella.
"I know...it was scandalous when I did it. Mum didn't talk for a week."
Hettie cut back in. "Girl, you need to cut the chit-chat and get in to work. The Old Man is on ram-page."
"Oh, but Hettie - Daddy just bought me a new phonograph record...it's just dreamy. Can I play it on your Victrola?"
"Quickly...while you get geared up."
Amy cranked up the machine and got the record started. The opening notes of a piano rag began to emerge from the machine's sound horn. Amy couldn't see it, but Leela's eyeball rolled around under her goggles.
"Move it, girly-girl…the Old Man is still waiting…"
No sooner had the words left Hettie’s mouth when she spotted a stocky, bald-headed man in a doctor’s frock sneak into her office. “You! Doctor Zoidberg! Get your bleeding daddles off of my food! This is the third bloody time you’ve pinched my lunch.”
The man popped his head up to reveal a thick red mustache that drooped over his lips. “What…I was hungry, and why not. I’m leaving, I’m leaving…”
Leela laughed at him. “Zoidberg! You’re a man!”
He scratched his bald head. “Am I not supposed to be? I’ve always been one...at least since adulthood.”
Hettie was still fuming. "E's a right bloody thief and a beggar, that's wot he is."
Leela stood in front of what amounted to a metal ship's wheel. She studied the control panel of the zeppelin, and hit some of the ballast switches. A huge amount of water began bilging from ports on the bottom of the ship, and the whole craft began to rise. The Professor had invented an ingenious system of cables for mooring the craft, and winches started releasing these cables for the ship's flight. Soon the huge beast was drifting over the late afternoon skies of Old New York.
"All ahead two-thirds, Miss Wong."
"All ahead two-thirds, aye-aye." Amy cranked ahead the twin levers and the engines roared to life as black coal smoke poured out the baffles in back.
As Fry and Bender busily shoveled coal into the burner, Amy looked over her charts. "Make your course 193," she said. Leela slowly turned the wheel as she watched the old 'whiskey compass' rotate to its proper setting. Something about floating in the air at this speed was exhilarating to the ship captain, who was used to tearing out into space and leaving Earth in her wake.
Leela smiled with satisfaction. “This is so quaint…just like the old days of sailing a ship.”
“Yes,” Amy said as she pointed to the radio, “but we’re entering the modern age. Look what we have."
Leela looked over at the radio panel. "You guys even have ADF in this thing - how cute!"
"Of course we've got automatic direction finding – it’s brand new." Amy turned the dial. "This is a radio broadcast tower in Lakehurst - we can even listen to music on the way over there. They play some really great barber shop music."
"Barber shop music? You're kidding me..."
"Why would I kid you? Surely you like barbershop – it’s the cat’s pajamas nowadays."
As the music came on, the red dial pointed the direction of the radio tower on a compass. Leela adjusted her course. A men's trio from Canada sang on the radio speakers.
"I just love this band," Amy said, "it's Geddy Lee and the Toronto Jazz Cats."
"We're on the train to Bangkok, aboard the Thailand Express;
We'll hit the stops along the way, we only stop for the best."
As the Planet Express ship drifted up to her mooring at Lakehurst, she cast off lines so that the ground handlers could tie her off. The tiny airship dropped a small ladder so that the crew could disembark. As soon as they were on the grass, Leela looked up in amazement at a huge silver airship parked next to them. She read the lettering on the side of the vessel. "The Nimbus. They've even got one of these in this universe."
"Amazing, isn't she?" asked Amy.
Leela turned to see the blonde captain of the ship in his dapper uniform coming up to meet them. "Oh, brother..."
"You know him?" asked Amy.
She answered somberly, "Yes...we've met. And you?"
She hesitated a bit. "We've met a time or two. We first met at the Officer's Ball. We..."
"You can just stop right there, Amy. There is no way that we’ll ever make a lady out of you…either in this universe, or any other."
“Hey – that’s not fair! I’ve been to finishing school…”
Leela looked at her.
“Sort of…didn’t stay long.”
"Miss Amy Wong, my beautiful Cantonese flower."
"Oh, you're a charmer."
The captain then greeted Leela. "Allow me to introduce myself...I'm Captain Zapp Brannigan, and this is my cabin boy Kif." The young officer standing next to him groaned. "The Nimbus has flown all over the globe on missions for the Democratic Order of Nations - Africa, India, South America, visited the crowned heads of Europe. It's made the Kessel Run in less than twenty-four hours; to Kessel in the Netherlands, of course. And who might you be, you curvaceous lovely creature?"
He attempted to kiss her gloved hand, and she slipped it away.
Leela squinted her eye, but he couldn't see it under her goggles. "Leela. Turanga Leela."
"So, you came here on this delivery ship? Who is your captain?"
"You are looking at her; I am the captain. Don’t you believe that a woman could do that?" She shook her head. "No matter what universe I end up in, you never seem to be any different. C'mon guys, let's deliver our package."
"Miss Turanga, we will see each other again, won't we?"
"I'm hoping not. I find you garish and offensive."
Zapp turned to his young lieutenant. "Did I say something wrong Kif? Women are usually attracted to me."
The young man sighed. "You always say the wrong thing, you pompous ass."
It was evening by the time the ship got back to New York. Fry and his robot friend settled into the parlor while Amy left for home. Fry began pouring glasses of green liquid from a soda fountain.
Leela chuckled. "Is that what I think it is?"
"It's Slurm, ma'am - a carbonated beverage that I like to imbibe as my robot and I watch the televisual device. I find it helps with the digestion. Bender, if you don't mind old boy..."
"I'm on it, old chap." The robot got a small fire started in the device's burner with some sticks, and fanned the flames with an air-pump. Soon a black and white image appeared on the round screen.
"This is a good film,” Fry said, “it’s from France. These brave adventurers actually go to the moon after being shot out of a cannon. Can you imagine such a yarn – a trip to the moon? We still like to go to the picture show, but we also like being entertained by our televised programs. It's truly a miracle of the age."
"Like I said to Zapp, not much changes from universe to universe." She scratched Fry's back. "Except for you; you're a gentleman here. I like that. I think I'll grab some Slurm for myself - be right back."
"Why, I've always tried to be a gentleman, miss."
As Leela left the room, Fry made conversation with his robot friend. "She's quite a fine lady. Do you think that I...do you think that we..."
Bender pulled out a shiny gold watch and chain. "Look here, my boy...remember that toffer the other day?"
"Bender! You nicked it, you gorilla..."
The robot let out a roar of laughter.
The next morning, Leela ran into another familiar face as she got some breakfast in the kitchen. The burly Jamaican had a look of surprise on his face.
"Great bungalow of Tupelo," he said, "you spent the night here?"
"I was going to go to the YWCA, but I just thought I'd sleep on a couch."
"With our crazy professor, you never know what you might run into back here in da middle of da night. I've heard the Old Man has cockroaches the size of cats back in his lab."
As they were speaking, a young message boy in a uniform came into the room holding a dispatch; Hermes accepted it, and gave the boy a penny tip. He read it with interest.
"Great thrilla from Manila; I'm going to receive a message from the Bureaucracy."
Another boy came in with another dispatch, and he accepted it. "It's a message from the Bureaucracy. We're having an inspection today."
"Hate to miss it, but I've got some business to attend to before my next flight."
"Oh, but don't leave me here alone with that old battle..."
The two of them heard the ringing of a bell from the receptionist. When they walked into the lobby, they were surprised at who they found standing there. Morgan Proctor herself was waiting, gazing at her pocket watch as she held her leather notebook. She was dressed in a black Victorian dress, and sported a gray hat.
"You made me wait for a whole two minutes, Mister Conrad."
Leela didn't wait around for the big inspection. She walked out into the street and looked for a manhole cover; once she found one, she slipped into the darkness below. With what little light she had that filtered in through the holes of the manhole cover, she spotted a cobblestone. She took the cobblestone and slammed it three times against a wall. She then heard two loud bangs come back in return.
"Oh, you are here." She then switched over to that dialect only known by sewer mutants, with its guttural croaks, hisses and tongue clicks. "I'm looking for someone..."
A torch lit up, and the faces of mutants appeared. "Who are you looking for?"
"Who is that?" asked Amy.
"Do you mind? I'm on the phone," said the Professor as he covered the receiver. "It's Leela's father, and he's very upset."
Professor Farnsworth went back to his conversation. "The connection is really bad down there. Morris...can you hear me now? Can you hear me now?"
"Munda, will you let me speak? Baby was taking the trash out," he told Farnsworth, "and she never made it back home. Eye-guy, well, that's what we call him down here because he doesn't miss much with all those eyes, he told me that he saw her fall through a hole in the floor. But there's no sewer line that runs underneath where she was standing..."
Leela made her way into what the mutants called "The Market," which was filled with various individuals with vending stalls. She began to search the faces of the vendors there.
"Hey lady," one of them said, "we have rats...fresh today."
"No thank you."
"No...I had lunch already."
Another guy with blue tentacles offered a book. "Scarlet Letter? No? Okay..."
It didn't take long before Leela spotted the mutant she was looking for. The young woman was the spitting image of herself, except for having green hair. As she sorted through her items, she had a sadness about her.
She looked up. "Can I help you, ma'am? We have cockles and mussels, alive, alive oh. And then we have this little mollusk thingee, and I'm not quite sure what that is. As a surface dweller, I wouldn't trust it."
"How do you know that I'm a surface dweller?" asked Leela.
"The way you're dressed...and the fact that you're not all covered in slime."
"But why are you down here doing this? Why aren't you pursuing your dream?"
The woman sighed. "Oh, please...give me a break. You aren't one of those people from the Salvation Army, here to offer me a hot cup of tea and some hope, are you? Because there's no hope and I've given up a long time ago. By the way, this snail here isn't too bad if you're hungry."
"You're right about one thing - I am a surface dweller. But I'm also a mutant."
"Hah! That's a laugh...no one in his right mind on the surface would give someone like me any kind of a chance. And you sure don't look like a mutant."
"What if I told you that you and I are more alike than you think?" She pulled off her goggles and helmet, and let her hair fall down around her. She then smiled at the woman.
The woman's mouth popped open. "Jeepers - you're me...I mean, I'm you...I mean..."
"Turanga Leela, you are going to be a pilot - it is your destiny. All those books you read on flying...all the science fiction you read...none of it is for naught. And if I know you, and I'm sure I know you better than anyone, you've been studying hard."
Leela then pressed her finger to her lips, and quickly disappeared into the darkness of the tunnels. A tear ran down her counterpart's cheek, but she grinned from ear to ear. She now knew that there was some hope beyond just selling mollusks to her fellow hungry sewer dwellers.
That next day was a big one for Turanga Leela. As the Planet Express Ship left the hangar for Kansas City, Leela knew that this was her big test. The trip was going to be done in two large legs, and it was going to be a long 8 ½ hours until their first stopover in South Bend, Indiana. After they left the New York metropolitan area, Leela pushed the ship near its maximum speed of 80 mph. She dropped enough ballast to comfortably cruise at 7,500 feet.
As the ship gently coasted over the rolling hills north of Allentown, Amy gave Leela a break so that she could enjoy the view in the lounge. She peeked in on Bender and Fry as they took a break from their coal-shoveling activities; they were playing a spot of gin rummy and swapping some stories. She delivered some Slurm to Fry, while Bender enjoyed his corn liquor.
Bender held up his bottle. "A flash of lightning, mum?"
"No thanks...maybe when the trip is over."
Leela ended up enjoying most of her break inside of the airship where the gas bags were; she was amazed that the ship was built so well, and of how durable it actually was. As fascinated as she was with her new adventure, she knew that she'd have to get home to her universe at some point. There was already a Leela here, and she needed to experience life out of the sewers.
The Professor scanned his computer screen as he made his way through the sewer tunnel. "Let me see...this is the Central Trunk Tunnel for another half a mile, and then it splits into two separate tunnels.
Morris was just happy that they had come down after Leela. "If I'd have known you and Amy were coming down here, we would have fixed some dinner; we don't get many visitors, as you'd imagine."
"No, I don't imagine you would - the smell alone is enough to wake the dead."
"Well, Mr. Farnsworth, I know it's not the Waldorf Astoria..."
The Professor's eyes got big behind his thick glasses.
"What is it, Professor?" asked Amy.
"If I'm reading this right, there will be another hole opening up into the Steamverse in about 15 hours...right near this spot."
"How can we let her know when to come?"
"Send a message to her on her wrist-thingee...and hope she gets it in time before the hole shuts."
"Well for heaven's sake, you two - come inside. Munda is making a bundt cake...I don't know what's in it, but she sure does make them tasty."
As Leela made her way along the passage, she passed by a bank of instruments. She smiled. "These are so quaint," she told herself. Her eye got that angry downward curve as she looked at a barometer.
"29.79? That sounds awfully low." She flicked it with her fingernail. She then nearly lost her balance as the ship shuddered. "Oh, boy - that wasn't good." Leela then opened a vent nearby, and felt hot air come in through it - she knew this was wrong. She jogged back over to the ladder that led to the control room.
"What's going on? The ship just shook..." Leela's mouth popped open as she saw what filled the front windscreens - it was a massive thunderstorm that seemed to blot out the sky. "Oh, God..."
"Aiya! Where have you been?"
Leela looked upon a massive cumulonimbus stack that seemed to extend into the heavens. Down near its base flashes of lightning came out of a dark rain shaft. "Where are we?"
"Somewhere north of State College, near Lock Haven. What are we going to do? The thing is massive - it's all over the place."
"Didn't you see this coming on the radar? Oh, I forgot - you guys don't have radar."
"What's a radar?"
"Okay, we're going to do a 180, that's what we're going to do..."
"I think you're right about that, but this beast doesn't turn on a dime."
"Do what you can...if we get caught up in those up and down drafts, we're done for. Start turning." Leela grabbed the intercom horn from the cabin ceiling. "Fry, Metal Man - bolt everything down and get ready for a rough ride."
Leela suddenly noticed that the ship was caught in a downdraft, and that the nose was starting to droop toward the Earth. She began to dump ballast as fast as she could, and the ship began to shake as it started to climb. "Come on, you big whale...climb...climb!"
The shaking grew more pronounced as the storm got closer to them. It was now getting dark as lightning flashes lit up the control cabin and loud bangs of thunder pounded the ship.
Amy shouted as the ship contorted around at an odd angle. "Captain Leela - what do I do?"
"Keep turning...you're doing fine!" The girls felt their stomachs being pulled as the g forces hit them. "We've got to get altitude!"
The girls suddenly heard a loud tearing sound from the aft of the ship as the shaking grew more violent. Leela closed her eye and was afraid to open it back up. "Oh, lord...stay here and keep the ship coming around."
"Where are you going?"
Leela opened a window and popped her head outside into what was now freezing cold air. "Oh, crud..."
"What - how much tail do we have left? 50 percent? 40 percent?"
"No." Leela looked back to see the pieces of what was once the vertical stabilizer dangling down like pieces of a broken toy.
"How are we supposed to steer?"
"Use the throttles...we can do it."
"But Captain Leela - that's never been done."
"Amy, it will be...someday. It will be. You just don't know it yet."
Farnsworth and Amy had no sooner gotten settled in to the Turanga living room when they noticed a shaking in the walls.
"Do you get Earth tremors here?" asked Amy.
Munda smiled. "Just wait."
The entire house began to shake up and down as a roaring noise echoed through the home. Amy panicked as she dove behind the couch for shelter.
"Eeeeek! It's an earthquake!"
Munda just laughed. "No, it's not an earthquake. It's just the 'A' train that runs along Central Park West. It's nothing. You get used to it after a while. This house sits right under it - it might explain how we got it so cheap. You've got to remember that you're down here with the subway trains - you're used to being above them."
Soon the rumbling died away, and it got quiet again. Amy looked around.
Farnsworth reached inside of his mouth and wiggled a tooth. "Good God in heaven - I think I've got fillings that have come loose."
Amy looked around sheepishly from behind the couch, like a beaten dog. "How often does this happen here?"
"Oh, about every 5 minutes."
Soon the walls and the pictures hanging on them began to shake again.
"It's the express train," Morris added. "Must be running a bit late. Hey gang, let's play some cards."
As the Planet Express zeppelin limped along through the storm, Leela briefed her crew on a plan of how to get them home. "I know the storm looks terrible," she told them, "but as long as we can keep a steady altitude, we'll get home. I've got some ideas as to how to get us back to the city. I'm going to need everyone to work together."
As she started her speech, the ship was slammed by a heavy gust of wind. Leela lost her balance, and was briefly stunned as her head hit a metal bulkhead.
"Captain Leela!" Amy shouted. "Fry, get her helmet off...see if she's okay."
Fry pulled her leather helmet and goggles off. As soon as he got the goggles off of her eye, he gasped and looked back at Amy. "Blast - she's a bleeding mutant! The Old Man would have a stroke if he found out."
Leela's eye popped open and blinked. "I heard that - okay, I'm a mutant. And I don't care right now what the Old Man thinks. Do you want to live? Well, do you?"
Amy answered. "She's gotten us this far...I want to hear her plan. Help her up, Fry."
After Fry got her to her feet, Bender handed her back the goggles. "Your specs, ma'am."
"Thanks, but I won't need them. Now, here's the plan..."
The Old Man began to wait in the hangar as soon as he received the distress message from his ship; he nervously gripped his walking stick as he waited for the zeppelin to arrive. It was raining when he opened the hangar doors, and flashes of lightning lit up the inside of the building. Hermes waited with him. The green airship finally appeared, and cast down her lines into the hangar to the waiting robots.
When the crew finally climbed down the ladder, Farnsworth just stared at Leela with a mean scowl.
She looked back at him. "What?"
"I'll be deuced! I trusted my ship to a sewer mutant...I put my trust in you, and you deliberately deceived me. And look at my ship! You didn't even make it as far as Ohio."
Amy pushed Leela out of the way before she could say anything. "I'll answer that. Thanks to this mutant, we made it back in one piece. She's the only reason that we're not dead in a Pennsylvania farm field somewhere, you ungrateful old goat. And we need a radar, whatever that is."
"Of all the sass!" Farnsworth turned to Fry. "What have you to say about this?"
"Sir, she's a crackerjack pilot, and acted with great courage. We owe this woman our very lives."
Hermes agreed. "Sir, you should be lenient with her; she did bring your ship back in one piece."
Farnsworth looked up at the ship, and ran his eyes along toward the tail. "Well, she's repairable. And it is good to have you here in one piece. I guess it can't be gainsaid that Leela does have some piloting skills. Now all of you - go home and rest up."
Leela spoke. "Sir, I have no..."
"Alright - you can sleep down the hall again."
"Thanks..." Leela suddenly noticed a message beep from her wrist-thingee, and peeked at the screen. She looked back up at the Professor. "I've just got a little business to do, and I'll be back later."
"You will be here tomorrow, won't you?"
As everyone was heading home for the night, Bender poked Fry in the shoulder. "Hey chum - cast your eyes on this."
Fry glanced down at his robot hand, and then looked around in a panic. "It's Amy's coin purse - you cabbaged it, you bludger."
"It's no big deal," said the robot, "it's not like she'll end up in the poorhouse."
"Oh, you'll think it's a big deal when the police constable comes 'round..."
Leela slipped out into the rainy evening amid the glow of gaslight, and she opened up a manhole cover.
She lit a torch in the darkness, and walked back to the house where her counterpart was living. She tapped on the back bedroom window where she was asleep.
"What...what? We're closed. I can sell you some snails tomorrow; God knows they're not going anywhere."
"Get up, Leela - we need to talk. Tomorrow is going to be a big day for you. This is your chance to be what you were meant to be."
She opened the window. "What?"
Turanga Leela made her way back to the Central Trunk tunnel with her torch. She found what she was looking for - a large hole in the floor of the tunnel, with light coming up from it. She stepped into the hole and disappeared.
When Leela looked up from the pile of muck where she’d fallen, Fry was standing there with his hand outstretched.
As Leela grabbed his hand she said, “What a true gentleman.”
Leela made her way into the lobby of the Planet Express Zeppelin Service early that next morning. The Old Man was waiting, and Hettie Moneyfarthing was with him.
"I'm not late, am I?"
"No...right on time."
Leela looked down at the anti-mutant sign with disdain.
"What's the matter?" asked Farnsworth.
She was too shy to point it out. Hettie spoke for her.
"Oh, mudpies...it's that stupid sign of yours, you blaggard."
"Oh..." Farnsworth grabbed the sign, and looked at it. "We won't be needing this old thing anymore, will we? Miss Moneyfarthing, toss this into the dustbin for me."
"With pleasure, sir."
"Let me show you the repairs that the robots have been doing since last night." Farnsworth walked her back to the hangar. "I notice that you've since dyed your hair green - I rather like it. Hey, did I ever tell you about a toy I created by the name of Q. T. McWhiskers?”
As they were talking, Fry came into the hangar. "Miss Leela, would you like some Slurm?"
"I'd like that, thank you." She accepted the glass.
Farnsworth smiled. "You look like you'd like to chit-chat; I'll catch up with you two youngsters in a bit."