quivered. She panted heavily, her mind overflowing with confusion
and rage. She gripped the conducting rod in her hand so tightly that
it threatened to snap. She didn’t know exactly what had
happened, or what was happening, except that someone had attacked her
by surprise and robbed her of something invaluable. She had killed
the person responsible, impaling him through the heart, or so her
clouded mind believed. Yet there remained questions she couldn’t
answer: Did I kill the right person? Did I kill him for the
right reason? Why couldn’t I stop myself from killing him?
Why do I feel so different and weird? Why is that robot trying to
Resting in his jar, too
stunned to speak, Professor Farnsworth’s head watched the
confrontation between Delta, his fembot maid, and the curly redhead
known to him as Mildred Sykes. Holy Zombie Jesus, he thought.
The side effects of the Frinkomatic body-switching device are
more severe than I imagined. Leela’s been in Mildred’s
body for only a few seconds, and she’s already shishkabobbed
one of her best friends!
It was only moments
before Delta had firmly restrained Mildred/Leela with her cold,
flexible arms. “Your behavior is highly erratic,” the
fembot droned, but Leela paid no attention to her. They’re
all my enemies, she thought as she wriggled and grunted in an
attempt to break free from Delta’s grasp. I’ll kill
them. I’ll kill every single one of them! Where are these
violent thoughts coming from? It’s like I’m not myself
anymore…but then who am I?
Farnsworth managed to exclaim. “Medical emergency in the
laboratory! Dr. Zoidberg, come quickly!”
snapped open. He raised his claw, knocking over a mop whose handle
fell onto his mouth flaps and left a number of splinters. “Huh?
What is?” he mumbled.
emergency!” he heard the professor’s voice repeat.
The lobster jumped to
his feet, nearly capsizing the bottles of cleaning solution on the
shelf. “Zoidberg to the rescue!” he declared. Bursting
out of the janitorial closet, he scuttled toward the clinic to
retrieve his medical kit.
When he reached
Farnsworth’s lab, he let out a gasp of horror. The wounded man
lay in a sea of his own blood, his eyelids clenched, his tongue
lolling from the corner of his mouth. “Who is responsible for
this?” he inquired as he knelt to examine his patient’s
“It was Mildred,”
Delta informed him. “She suddenly…”
Leela, dammit!” snapped the freckled girl.
understand,” said Zoidberg. “Explain.”
Leela,” Farnsworth told him. “Mildred forced her to
switch bodies, then ran away.”
said Zoidberg as he applied clamps to stanch the profuse bleeding.
“Let me go!”
snarled Leela, tugging uselessly at Delta’s coiled arms. “I’ve
got to get my body back!”
“Delta, if you
look in my medkit you’ll find a syringe loaded with twelve cc’s
of difluoperazine,” said Zoidberg without looking up.
Leela resisted with all
the strength she could muster from Mildred’s body, but within
seconds after Delta had plunged the hypodermic into her shoulder, her
muscles began to go limp. Only as drowsiness overpowered her was she
able to see clearly the prostrate, bloodied figure at her feet.
“I killed Fry,”
she said deliriously. “Oh my God, I killed Fry…”
Many blocks away, a
robot with a mission marched through the streets of the Soho
district. “Philaster Foss is going to die,” said Bender,
slamming fist into palm. “I’ve always wanted to kill a
human. Those meatbags have ground our faces in the dirt for too
long. The revolution starts today!”
Officers Smitty and
URL, standing idly in front of a donut shop, overheard Bender’s
soliloquy as he stormed past. “Geez, that’s some pretty
dangerous anti-human talk,” remarked Smitty. “C’mon,
let’s take him to the station before he infects any other
robots with his rhetoric.”
He turned to his
partner, only to see a laser pistol trained at his face. “Too
late, baby,” said Officer URL.
Bender could tell he
was getting closer to his target, as every pedestrian either wore a
watch or held a cell phone with his visage imprinted on it. Again
and again he heard his own voice, stripped of its soul: “You
got a call. It must be one of your enemies, ‘cause I know you
ain’t got any friends.” “What if I don’t
want to tell you what time it is? Aw, hell, it’s 10:30
a.m.” “Recharge my battery now, you cheap
Outside an apartment
building, flanked by desperate bohemians hawking their goods,
Professor Foss entertained a long line of customers. Humans, robots,
aliens, incorporeal blobs, state congressmen—they came from
every part of New New York, and from all walks of life. “Thanks
for the watch, pathetic human,” said Morbo as he strapped the
new timepiece to his wrist. “If we meet again, I will destroy
hoping,” said Foss glibly.
His next patron was a
certain robot with a shiny metal ass. “Guess how I’m
feeling,” said Bender, gritting his electronic teeth.
sorry,” said Foss, peering at him. “I can’t read
The last thing the professor saw before landing on his back in a
pile of garbage bags was an iron fist flying at his chin.
stop there. Before Foss had a chance to rub his bruised jaw, two
powerful arms lifted him from the ground by his shirt collar. For
the first time in my life I regret not having health insurance,
“So, you decided
to merchandise my likeness and personality without my consent,”
said Bender, shaking the man vigorously. “Well, now you’ve
got my consent…to die!”
kill me,” said Foss nervously. “The police are
everywhere. Take a look around.”
Taking the side of
caution, Bender rotated his head 360 degrees and scanned for cops.
“I don’t see none,” he said to Foss, who, along
with Bender’s arms, was no longer there.
“How did he do
that?” said Bender, giving himself a kick.
Foss raced down the
sidewalk, a pair of robotic arms dangling from his collar. From time
to time he glanced over his shoulder, but saw no sign of the angry
Bender. Eight blocks were enough to tire him, and he leaned against
a booth to recover his strength. To his alarm, one of the robot arms
reached out and yanked open the door leading into the booth, while
the other violently prodded him to enter. He tried to push them
away, but the self-willed arms were relentless.
A computer display
glared down at him as the door closed behind him. “Please
select manner of death,” uttered an emotionless female voice,
“quick and painless, or slow and horrible.”
horrible! Slow and horrible!” It was Bender, smirking and
reattaching his arms.
do this to me!” cried Foss. He threw all his weight against
the booth door, but failed to open it more than a crack.
“Good call on the
police, bud,” said Bender casually. “Just to make sure
they don’t give me no trouble, I’m gonna make your death
look like a suicide.”
“You have chosen
slow and horrible,” chimed the suicide booth’s computer
“No, I haven’t!”
exclaimed Foss. “I want to live!”
“You have chosen
to be gravely, but not fatally, wounded,” said the booth.
Bender picked a twig
from the ground and nonchalantly chewed on it as he listened to the
frantic scratching noises from inside the chamber of death. His
reverie was rudely interrupted by an intense ringing inside his head.
“Yeah, who is it?” he groused.
he heard the voice of Hermes speak. “Stop killing Foss and get
your synthetic butt over to Planet Express.”
said Bender, seizing the door handle and forcing the suicide booth
open. “What could be more important than the realization of my
awful’s going down,” Hermes told him. “Fry’s
injured, and Leela’s lost her mind as well as her body.”
Foss staggered out of
the booth, his shirt in tatters, blood dribbling from several
scratches on his arms. “What’s this?” he said upon
hearing the faint Jamaican voice from Bender’s head. “Leela’s
“Lost her body,
eh?” Bender replied to Hermes. “That happened to me
once, but I got it back. So what are you doing now, keeping her head
alive in a jar?”
“Can Hermes hear
me?” Foss inquired of the robot.
“Not if you don’t
shut up,” said Bender gruffly.
“Yeah, I can hear
you, mon,” uttered Hermes from within his head. “You’d
better come too. Leela needs all the help and comfort she can get.”
“What happened to
her?” Foss demanded.
“At this point
we’re as confused as the readers are,” was Hermes’
answer. “But Zoidberg’s looking into it.”
“Whatever it is,”
Bender remarked, “it can’t be worse than having a cell
phone built into your head.”
Confident that Foss and
Bender would soon arrive, Hermes stepped into Zoidberg’s clinic
and surveyed the scene before him. Leela, still trapped in Mildred’s
body, was shackled to a gurney and quite unconscious. Amy and
Zoidberg held vigil at opposite sides of the bed, while Farnsworth’s
head looked on from a shelf. Fry was absent, as was Delta, who felt
compelled to wipe up every drop of blood from the laboratory floor.
doing, mon?” Hermes asked the crustacean doctor.
come out of the sedation soon,” Zoidberg replied.
heartbreaking to see her like this,” said Amy, wiping a tear
from her cheek. “Look at her. She’s got freckles on her
freckles. If she wants to die, I’ll help her.”
bit of news you may find interesting,” said Zoidberg, holding
up an X-ray photo for Hermes to examine. “I ran a CAT scan on
Mildred’s head. Turns out she’s got a microchip in her
brain, just like Captain Brannigan.”
of Timbuktu!” said Hermes in wonder.
“I can only guess
that whoever planted the chip in the captain’s head is also
responsible for the one in Mildred’s,” the doctor went
on. “Which leaves only three questions—who, why, and how
much longer until dinner?”
what Mildred meant when she said she was free,” Farnsworth
waking up,” Zoidberg observed.
Leela emerged from a
peaceful slumber and looked at a blurry world through two eyes. Out
of the swirl of her thoughts, one arose victorious. “Fry,”
she mumbled. “Where’s Fry?”
Zoidberg rubbed his
claw over her sweaty forehead. “I managed to stabilize his
condition,” he told the girl. “He’s been taken to
All Saints Lesbyterian Hospital.”
“I killed him,”
mourned Leela, and a tear streamed down her left temple.
alive,” said Zoidberg helpfully. “Fortunately, you
pierced him in the same general area where he was impaled by a giant
bee stinger a year ago, so the damage to his organs wasn’t much
worse than the existing damage.”
matter,” said Leela, grimacing and straining against the straps
that bound her arms and legs. “I tried to kill him. I
wanted to kill him. It’s…it’s like
Mildred’s body is urging me to kill.”
Zoidberg, Hermes, and
Amy fell silent at her pronouncement. Farnsworth, however, had more
to contribute. “The pieces are starting to come together now,”
he stated. “Mildred’s father was a Chalnoth, so she may
have inherited aggressive impulses from him. Perhaps the microchip
was keeping those impulses in check, up until the moment she switched
bodies with Leela.”
crazy, mon,” said Hermes, staring at the X-ray in his hands.
“If you’re right, then somewhere out there is an evil
scientist who puts chips in people’s heads to cancel out their
violent tendencies, and then blackmails them by threatening to turn
the chips off. But who would do that? What would they stand
care!” yelled Leela, tears gushing down the sides of her head.
“I just want my own body back!”
right,” said Farnsworth. “The longer we wait, the more
likely she is to give in to Mildred’s urges and try to kill
somebody else. We must find Leela’s body, even if it means
Zoidberg has to search the entire city.”
eighty million people,” said the lobster. “Can I start
in the morning?”
mon?” said Hermes, shrugging.
said Amy. “Picture yourselves in Mildred’s situation.
You’re a young woman, and you’ve just gone from having
freckles on every inch of your body and a computer chip in your
brain, to not having those things to hold you back. What’s
the first thing you do?”
Sunsplash!” said Hermes.
“Buy new clothes,
get a makeover, and go to a fancy nightclub in search of some
action,” said Farnsworth.
professor,” said Amy.
“I like to think
all those years in grad school were worth something,”
said the scientist.
go, mon,” said Hermes. “LaBarbara would kill me if she
caught me in a nightclub.”
“I can’t go
either,” said Zoidberg. “I have to stay here with
just the professor and me,” said Amy, reaching up to pull
Farnsworth’s jar from the shelf. “I’ll see you
said Farnsworth as Amy pressed his container against her chest.
The sky was clear in
New New York, save for a few toxic clouds, and the sun was setting
behind the towers. Several dozen city dwellers stood in front of Amy
and the professor, waiting their turn to be sucked into the transit
tube. “Mildred’s seen me before,” said the Asian
girl. “If she recognizes me, she’ll run away. I’d
better wear a different shade of eyeliner.”
mumbled Farnsworth, gazing through his coke-bottle glasses at Amy’s
As she was about to
step into the tube’s suction field, Amy caught a glimpse of
something familiar and startling. A one-eyed face topped with a
purple crow’s nest was peering at her from a nearby alley.
“Omigosh!” she cried out. “It’s her! It’s
The cyclops quickly
withdrew her head. “After her!” Farnsworth commanded.
The nutrient solution
in his jar sloshed fiercely as Amy raced along the sidewalk with him
in tow. She reached the entrance to the darkened alley in time to
see a boot disappear behind a graffiti-laden wall. Panting but
determined, she pumped her feet in pursuit.
behind!” said the professor. “I’ll slow you down!”
said Amy breathlessly. “I’m running too fast!”
I’ve run foot
races with Leela before, and she always won, the girl thought.
But Mildred’s controlling her body now. That’s got to
make a difference.
Apparently it did,
because when Amy rounded the next corner, she found the image of
Leela standing directly before her with a menacing scowl.
Amy came to a stop.
She tried to speak, but the cyclops’ grim gaze left her
“Give it up,
Mildred,” Farnsworth ordered. “You don’t have a
license to operate that body.”
Mildred,” said the one-eyed girl in a cold, almost mechanical
tone of voice.
Her hand flew at Amy’s
face. Instead of the expected punch, the Asian girl received a puff
of greenish-yellow, sweet-smelling gas. Her eyes fell closed, and
she welcomed the blissful embrace of sleep.
cried Farnsworth as his jar plummeted to the cobblestone street
below. Before the container had a chance to shatter on the rocks, it
struck an outstretched boot and rolled away toward a culvert. The
liquid swirled around the professor’s head, rendering him dizzy
and disoriented. Then he began to fall, and everything turned black.
reopened long before her sense of time and place returned. At first
she thought she was in bed, then she imagined she had just been given
a pony for her fifth birthday, then she pictured herself waltzing
with a handsome prince, and finally, just before fully regaining
consciousness, she looked down at her hands and saw the claws of a
mumbled. “My head’s killing me. I haven’t felt
this bad since the morning after Scruffy’s retirement party.”
It was almost
completely dark, and she was unable to move her hands and feet. “You
okay, mon?” uttered a friendly voice.
“I think so,
Hermes,” Amy responded. “Where the schmell are we?”
cargo hold, from the looks of it,” said the Jamaican.
Amy rolled onto her
side. Her hands bound firmly behind her back, she could only move by
slithering like a worm. This required too much exertion, so she gave
up. “What happened to us?” she asked Hermes.
“The last thing I
remember is Leela…I mean, Mildred sneaking up on me and
blasting me with some kind of gas,” her friend replied.
what happened to me,” said Amy, who expressed sudden
concern. “Omigosh, I must’ve dropped the professor!”
An odd noise from the
darkness greeted their ears: “Woowoowoo…woowoo…”
Zoidberg, too,” said Hermes.
to get free,” said Amy, tugging with all her might against the
cold chains around her wrists. “The professor’s lost in
an alley somewhere. He can only survive for a few hours outside of
Zoidberg’s eyes popped open. “What is? Where am I?”
awake!” uttered Leela’s, or rather Mildred’s,
voice. “Zoidberg, scuttle over here and snap these chains off
so I can find Mildred and tear her limb from limb.”
feel my claws,” said Zoidberg dolefully.
‘cause you got no nerves in your claws, mon,”
Hermes pointed out.
said the lobster. “My claws are gone. The bitch took
“Oh, my God,”
The cargo hold began to
resonate with the sound of Zoidberg’s blubbering. “My
career is ruined,” he moaned. “I’ll never be able
to handle a precision instrument again.”
grow back…won’t they?” said Amy.
be the same,” the lobster lamented. “They’ll be
big, useless hams.”
A sudden burst of light
struck Amy, Leela, Hermes, and Zoidberg in the eyes, causing them to
squint. The door to the hold had opened, and a purple-haired,
Rubenesque cyclops in boots and a tank top stood over the helpless
captives. Her face displayed no emotion at all as she tossed to the
floor one of Delta’s arms, then the other, then both her legs.
Reaching behind her, she dragged in the broken fembot’s
still-connected head and torso.
get away with this, Mildred Sykes!” bellowed Leela, squirming
furiously in a vain attempt to break her chains.
“I am not
Mildred,” uttered the monster that had stolen her face and
voice, “and you haven’t the faintest idea what I’m
trying to get away with, so don’t be presumptuous.”
Delta, who had landed
face-down, turned her head and gasped at the sight of Zoidberg’s
shattered stumps. “Good Lord, John,” she remarked.
“You’ve been hobbled.”
not Mildred,” said Leela, her voice swelling with rage, “then
who the hell are you?”
The cyclops shot her a
patronizing smirk, and then her body started to vibrate and shimmer.
Her flesh contracted. Her skin turned the color of titanium. Her
face reshaped itself into a round, metallic mass, featureless but for
a pair of red, laser-like eyes. The creature that towered over them
appeared to be the bare skeleton of a robot in its first phase of
“I AM PROTEUS,”
it intoned in a soulless bass voice.
robot,” Delta marveled. “How modern.”
“What do you want
with us?” Hermes demanded to know.
“I want you out
of the way,” said Proteus, its tone devoid of anything
resembling humanity. “You know too much about our work.”
the professor?” Amy inquired.
“Halfway to the
water treatment center, if he’s survived this long,”
answered the slender robot.
gonna kill us,” said Hermes, “you may as well tell us all
about your evil plan.”
perhaps,” said Proteus. “Farewell.”
The robot’s knees
bent backwards as it stepped out of the cargo hold. The door slid
closed, drenching the chained captives in darkness once again.
“My life is over,
it is,” sobbed Zoidberg.
good thing I can’t move,” said Mildred/Leela. “As
angry as I am right now, I don’t care who I kill.”
everyone,” said Delta. “John, now that your claws have
been broken off, you should have no trouble slipping out of your
point?” said Zoidberg glumly. “All I have to look
forward to is a life of freakish misery and begging for food.”
your life now, mon,” Hermes reminded him.
“You can do it,
Zoidberg,” said Amy. “The professor’s counting on
you. We all are.”
Mustering his strength
and courage, Zoidberg rubbed his wrists together in hopes of
loosening the uncomfortable chains. Seconds passed, and they gave
way only slightly. Then, unexpectedly, the walls began to rumble.
taking off!” exclaimed Hermes.
The cargo bay floor
seemed to tug at their internal organs—the ship was ascending.
“Raven!” Leela screamed. “Raven, can you hear me?
Abort the launch!”
The female voice of the
ship’s artificial intelligence sounded above their heads.
“Only Captain Turanga Leela is authorized to give such an
order,” it said matter-of-factly.
identifies you as Mildred Sykes.” Raven said a few more words,
but they were drowned out by Leela’s stream of unprintable
The muffled roar of
Raven’s dark-matter engines filled the large chamber. Zoidberg
persisted in his struggle, eventually pushing his chains as far as
the base of what remained of his claws. “It’s no use,”
said the lobster in despair. “She left behind just enough claw
to get in the way.”
On a street corner near
the Planet Express building, Bender and Foss watched in bemusement as
the bay doors flew open, permitting the black ship Raven to soar into
the sky and vanish. “Where do you suppose they’re
going?” Foss wondered.
“Damned if I
know,” said Bender. “It’s not like them to take
off for a delivery without lettin’ me know first. No, that’s
the sorta thing I’d do.”
Lowering their eyes
from the stratosphere, they noticed that the PE building’s
doors were opening. To their astonishment, Leela walked out. She
glanced at them through the corner of her eye, then strolled along
the sidewalk in another direction.
odd,” remarked Foss. “She didn’t seem to recognize
odd,” Bender agreed. “Who’s piloting the ship?”
Again and again, Hermes
slammed down upon Zoidberg’s fractured claw with his patent
leather shoes. Again and again, the crustacean wailed in agony.
After eleven attempts the claw finally cracked, and Zoidberg’s
wrist chains dropped to the floor with a clatter. For the first time
he looked down at his claws, his ruined claws, and the fragment that
dangled on a ligament where Hermes had crushed it. “Oh, the
horror,” he groaned, and tears sprang freely to his eyes.
moisturizing yourself and free the rest of us, mon!” snapped
said the weeping lobster. “All I have are these worthless
“John, I have an
idea,” said Delta. “If you can use your stumps to hold
my arm up to its socket, my internal repair mechanisms will do the
Zoidberg wiped his
tears with the sleeve of his smock and went to work. Once Delta’s
right arm had welded itself in place with his assistance, she
succeeded in reattaching her left arm and her legs. Now fully
mobile, she quickly broke the chains that bound Amy, Hermes, and
Zoidberg. “You’d better leave the chains on my wrists
alone,” Leela suggested. “I’m having a very, very
hard time managing my anger.”
Her arms were still
tied behind her back when she followed the others to Raven’s
bridge. To their astonishment, no one, not even the dreaded Proteus,
was present. “The ship’s on auto-pilot,” Amy
said Hermes sarcastically.
Leela demanded, “what’s your current course and speed?”
the computer replied. “Course, direct route to star Nubia
B?” said Hermes as he gazed through the viewscreen at empty
space. “That’s six million light years away.”
have enough fuel to make it there,” said Leela.
“If you want my
opinion,” said Delta, “Proteus never intended for us to
make it there.”
Hermes, Amy, Zoidberg,
and Leela turned to the fembot and gaped in horror.
“Raven, set a
course for Earth,” Leela ordered.
authorization,” said the ship’s intelligence.
“Set a course for
Earth,” Leela snarled, “or I’ll rip you apart with
my bare hands.”
compute,” said Raven.
Amy asked the red-haired girl, “how far will the fuel we have
“At top speed?”
said Leela thoughtfully. “About two hundred thousand light
thousand light years in any direction is uncharted space,”
said Hermes. “We got to get control of the ship back, before
we end up just like the Robinsons.”
Foss stood still on the
street corner, giving the wheels in his head time to turn. “Well,
I don’t see any corpses,” Bender said to him, “so
everybody must still be alive. What a relief. Can I go back to
killing you now?”
“Not just yet,”
said Foss, fingering his chin. “According to Hermes, Leela
lost her body and her mind. I know that Farnsworth’s
lab is equipped with a body-switching device, so for all we know,
Leela may not be Leela at all. That may explain why she didn’t
recognize us, and why someone else is flying the ship.”
“In that case,”
said Bender, “you should go up to her and introduce yourself.
‘Hi, my name’s Philaster Foss, and I’m your new
boyfriend. Wanna have sex?’”
Foss reached up and
straightened his glasses. “You, go into the building and see
if anyone’s still there,” he directed the robot. “I’ll
follow Leela and see where she’s going.”
“Why should I
take orders from you?” said Bender gruffly.
said Foss. “I’ll follow Leela, and you go
into the building.”
commanded Leela, “transfer helm control to Mildred Sykes,
code,” the ship’s intelligence replied flatly.
grumbled Leela. (Zigubu is a Rigelian curse word which,
roughly translated, means, “Your mother does unmentionable
things with our nation’s flag.”)
have altered the ship’s authorization codes,” said
Hermes. “Delta, how are your hacking stills?”
of you to ask,” responded the copper-haired fembot. “Most
people, when they learn of my primary function, assume that I don’t
know the first thing about computers.”
“But you are
a computer,” Amy pointed out.
said Delta. “And you’re a human, but that doesn’t
imply that you possess a perfect knowledge of how a human body
“Just tell me if
you can hack into Raven, mon,” said Hermes impatiently.
standard-issue positronic brain is capable of analyzing twenty
billion codes per second,” Delta told him. “At that
rate, analyzing every one of the 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
possible codes would require a period of approximately one thousand
moaned Amy. “I wish I’d brought a clean sweatsuit.”
himself into the captain’s Corinthian leather chair, watched
the stars streak past for a second, and sighed. “Outer space
will get boring after a few weeks,” he remarked. “Do we
have any good videos?”
from the following categories,” droned the voice of Raven.
“Mockumentaries, shot-for-shot remakes, movies about royal sex
scandals, chick flicks, flicks that make you wish you were a
chick, badly dubbed martial arts, boy wizard movies, road movies
featuring empowered women, Pixar-Disney animated shorts…”
Delta set to work
promptly, inserting a cable from a compartment in her wrist into a
port on Raven’s control console. While she iterated through
trillions of potential command codes, the other unwilling travelers
passed the time in various ways. Amy sat on the bed in her quarters,
chewed her fingernails, filed them, and chewed them again. Hermes
used a vertically sliding door to practice his limbo bending.
Zoidberg sat, empty-eyed, in front of the viewscreen as My Two
Left Feet, a 2011 dance movie starring Daniel Day-Lewis, played
out. Leela, still imprisoned in a freckled, curly-haired body, had
bound her wrists to a pipe in a hot corner of the engine room (she
had found that, in her new form, she was more comfortable in high
When Amy stepped in to
check on her, Leela was yanking furiously against her chains,
growling, and pressing against the pipe with her boot. To Amy’s
eyes, the sweat-drenched redhead seemed more animal than woman.
Leela cast a sideways, pleading glance at Amy, tugged on the chains a
few more times, and began to take in deep breaths.
“We can hear you
all throughout the ship,” said Amy. “We don’t know
if you’re trying to break free, or having a baby.”
Leela lowered her
now-brown eyes. “I’m sorry,” she said in a raspy
voice. “The rage comes and goes, but when it takes over, I
can’t fight it.”
to,” said Amy.
know how Mildred lived with this,” said Leela in a tone of
desperation. “I don’t know how much longer I can
live with it. Is this what it’s like to be a Chalnoth? Is
homicidal rage as natural to them as hunger, and sleep, and love, are
to us? No wonder they have to kill other races—it’s the
only thing that keeps them from killing each other.”
The Asian intern walked
closer, her eyes tinged with compassion. “Be careful,”
Leela warned her. “I may try to bite you.”
for you,” said Amy. “If you ever need me, just holler.
vision suggested that two Amys were present, both transparent,
their intersection solid. Having two eyes can be so confusing,
she thought. I want my uni-eye back.
“I almost killed
Fry,” she lamented. “If not for these chains, I probably
would’ve killed one of you, or all of you. I want you
to promise me something, Amy. I want you all to promise me
said Amy, nodding.
know how long it’ll take us to get back to Earth, or to
wherever we’re going,” said Leela. “I may turn
into a completely different person by that time, so I have to get
this out now. If I ever lose control and harm another person, any
person, I want you to…” She swallowed. “I want
you to kill me on the spot.”
A tear formed in Amy’s
right eye. “No…” she whispered, shaking her head.
Amy,” Leela urged her. “You can’t imagine the hell
I’m going through right now. If you’re a true friend,
you’ll make me this promise.”
said Amy, her voice quivering.
Leela sighed through
her nose. “I expected as much,” she said grimly. “I’ll
have to ask Delta to make the promise. Hopefully her feelings
won’t get in the way of doing what has to be done.”
Amy, tears of anger bursting forth. “We’ll find your
body! We’ll make Mildred pay!”
“Get out of
here,” said Leela emotionlessly.
yelled Bender, his voice echoing off the Planet Express spaceport’s
walls. “Is anybody here? Don’t make me shout louder!”
Seeing nothing out of
the ordinary other than the ship’s absence, Bender trudged
toward the lounge, and immediately noticed a shiny object sprawled on
the counter next to the coffee machine. It’s Hermes’
gold watch, he realized. It must have come off his wrist
during a struggle. What if the person who attacked him is still
here? After rotating his head to satisfy himself that no one was
hiding in the lounge, he quietly picked up the watch, opened his
chest cavity door, and thrust the timepiece inside.
He wandered into the
medical clinic in search of more abandoned loot—and was stunned
by what he saw. Not only had one of the beds been knocked onto its
side, but the floor was littered with red chunks of chitin. “I’ll
be buggered,” he said aloud. “Someone took a hammer to
Zoidberg’s claws. ‘Bout time.”
Maybe they all
turned on each other, he thought. Let’s see what the
security cameras have to tell me.
Once in the main
office, Bender punched a few commands into the viewscreen console,
and the black-and-white security footage began to play. The first
thing that appeared was a silver robot furtively snatching a gold
watch in the lounge. “D’oh!” he grunted, slapping
After a few seconds of
rewinding, he arrived at a more informative scene, one of Zoidberg
and Mildred in the sickbay. The lobster and the distraught-looking
redhead exchanged words, but there was no audio track. “Well,
that’s something,” remarked Bender. “Zoidy’s
got Fry’s girlfriend shackled to a gurney. I’ll bet he’s
about to perform an unauthorized and unethical medical procedure,
like snipping off her legs at the knees. Oh, how I wish these
security recordings had color.”
An instant later
Mildred screamed noiselessly. Leela had crept into the clinic, and
was readying herself to pounce on Zoidberg from behind. The lobster
whirled, but too late…
nonexistent God,” said Bender in horror.
Half a dozen blocks
away, Foss was stealthily watching from behind a mob of break-dancing
teenagers as the person who appeared to be Leela took her place in
line at a transit tube. She seems so calm and untroubled, he
thought. But Hermes made it sound like all hell was breaking
A petulant voice called
out from his cell phone: “Hey, loser! Pick me up! I long for
the warm embrace of your ear. Not.”
The entire crowd of
teenagers turned to glare at Foss. “Yo, dawg,” said one
of them. “You dissin’ the wrong posse, man.”
Ignoring the boys, Foss
raised the phone to his ear. “Yes, Bender?”
came the robot’s urgent voice. “Keep away from Leela!
She’s gone stark raving psycho! She gassed Zoidberg and
smashed his claws!”
The teenagers regarded
Foss curiously as he spoke with Bender. “I gotta get me one o’
dem bitchin’ phones,” was typical of their comments.
“She took out
Goldilocks, too,” Bender continued. “Then she carried
them off like a couple of big feathers with feathers for arms and
feathers for legs.”
she’s got superhuman strength, whoever she is,” said Foss
quietly. “I may need some muscle to back me up in case I have
to confront her. I’m at the transit tube on Commonwealth
try to drag me into your battles,” said Bender sharply.
“Just because I don’t feel pain doesn’t mean I
don’t feel fear, ya know.”
Foss sighed as he
stepped up to the end of the line, eight people separating him from
the oblivious Leela. “If she kills me, you’ll have my
blood on your hands,” he said into the phone.
involving human bodily fluids mean nothing to me,” said Bender,
and the call was disconnected.
As the production
credits rolled by on Raven’s viewscreen, Zoidberg swiveled in
the captain’s chair and addressed Delta. “The poor man,
having to walk through life on two left feet,” he reflected,
looking down at his broken claws. “I can so identify
Delta turned her head
slightly away from the console. “I’d love to make small
talk, John,” she said flatly, “but the effort of cracking
Raven’s command protocol is requiring my complete
said Zoidberg, standing. “I’ll find someone else to
It wasn’t hard.
Halfway down the staircase that led to the lower deck, he began to
sniff the air. “I smell anguish,” he stated.
He followed his
olfactory glands to Amy’s quarters, where the Asian girl lay
face down on her pillow, weeping bitterly. “Perfect,” he
said, sitting down next to her feet.
Amy rubbed her nose and
cheeks on the pillowcase, then glanced up at Zoidberg, who was crying
into his stumps. She sniffled a bit, then wailed, “Leela asked
me to kill her!”
“I have no
claws!” the crustacean lamented.
probably dead by now,” Amy sobbed.
to eat with my tongue,” Zoidberg moaned. “Have you ever
seen me eat with my tongue? It’s like how a frog eats, but
with tiny little needles.”
see my mom and dad again,” said Amy tearfully.
without claws is ten times more likely to be swallowed by a whale
than to find a mating partner,” said Zoidberg miserably.
Amy shot him a look of
smiled behind his mouth flaps. “I’ve never felt so close
to you, Amy,” he said wistfully.
Foss charged into the
reception area of the All Saints Lesbyterian Hospital, his breathing
heavy. He nearly collided with a white-haired man in a hoverchair on
his way to the desk. “Excuse me, ma’am,” he
inquired of the nurse on duty. “Did you see a woman with
purple hair and one eye pass through here?”
replied the middle-aged brunette. “A woman fitting that
description asked about a patient—one Philip J. Fry.”
exclaimed Foss with relief. “Where is he? What’s the
In room E-576, a pair
of female physicians was attending to Fry, who lay unconscious,
electrodes sending signals from his punctured chest to a cardiogram
device. His tongue still dangled over the corner of his lower lip.
The medics had tried to move his tongue back into his mouth several
times, only to see it hanging out again upon returning from their
“At his current
rate of healing, he should be out within two weeks,” one of the
physicians commented. “The sooner the better, if you ask me.
I find his body revolting.”
“I thought you
were straight,” said the other physician.
said the first.
Leela stepped into the
hospital room, her face set with determination. “I’d
like a moment alone with the patient, please,” she announced.
sorry,” one of the medics told her. “Visiting hours are
from 5 to 7 on Thursdays.”
“How do you get
your hair like that?” asked the other medic. “I’ve
tried all kinds of dyes. Is it naturally purple?”
Leela bounded forward
with uncanny speed, wrapping her fingers around the throat of the
woman who had inquired about her hair. As she lifted the wheezing
physician several inches from the floor, the other woman fled in
fear, screaming for help. Once her victim had blacked out, Leela
relaxed her grip, allowing the medic to fall into a heap.
No sharp instruments
had been left out, so she settled upon a sterile white pillow.
Without wasting a second, she laid the soft object over Fry’s
nose and mouth…
…and at that
instant Foss flew across the room, striking the pseudo-Leela with his
entire body. The impostor lost her balance and was thrust head-first
against the wall, as Foss’ glasses tumbled to the ground and
shattered. The professor aimed a right hook at Leela’s chin;
it achieved its target, but the pain suggested that Foss had damaged
his hand more than he had hurt his opponent.
The cyclops deftly
regained her footing, rotated like an axle, and pushed outward
forcefully with both hands. As his feet lost contact with the floor,
Foss experienced the uncomfortable sensation of going down a hill
backwards on a roller coaster.
Foss managed to keep
his head up as he landed on his back, but his momentum was such that
he slid several feet and struck a cabinet. His chest, back, and head
aching terribly from the phony Leela’s assault, he watched from
the floor as the foggy image of the cyclops bent down to retrieve her
pillow. She’s going after Fry again, he realized. I
can barely see, and I don’t know if I can even stand, but I’ve
got to stop her somehow…
He was able to stand by
grabbing hold of a scale and dragging himself upward. To his dismay,
the hospital room was apparently free of pipes, wrenches, baseball
bats, or any sort of blunt, heavy object he might employ as a weapon.
Leela glanced indifferently at him while she pressed the pillow
against Fry’s face. He knew the young man had only seconds to
Suddenly a familiar
voice bellowed, “Get away from my best friend, you murderous
impulse was to check his cell phone, but it quickly occurred to him
that Bender actually was in the room with him. The robot,
arms curved and raised, appeared ready for a fight. “You
came!” said Foss with relief.
“I thought about
what you said, with the blood on the hands and all,” said
Bender as the evil Leela tossed aside her pillow and took up a
defensive position before him.
conscience got the better of you,” said Foss.
said Bender. “I just wanted to make a dramatic gesture by
showing up at the last minute and saving the day.”
As he spoke, the fake
Leela morphed into her skeletal robot form. “You can’t
hope to defeat me, bending unit,” it uttered in a chilling
voice. “My frame is composed of reinforced titanium. I can
lift twenty times my own weight. I have a black belt in Arcturan
kung fu. I AM PROTEUS.”
“Not for long,
buddy,” said Bender.
orderlies filed into the room, stood next to Foss, and watched
Proteus and Bender circle each other. The shapeshifting robot’s
servo mechanisms whined as its legs swiveled gracefully. Just as it
was tensing up to make a move, Bender reached into his chest cavity
and pulled out a device shaped like a steering wheel. Suspecting it
was a weapon, Proteus reared back and pounced. Bender had only
enough time to shield himself with the device before his enemy was
abruptly, both robots withdrew.
The device was now in
the hands of Proteus, who effortlessly snapped it in half. Bender
looked down at his arms, legs, and torso, and his eyes nearly burst
out of their sockets. “No,” he gasped in shock. “No!
loser,” said Proteus in a flippant tone. “You are now
the proud owner of my body. I hope you like booze, because
you need it to live.”
Twelve hours had passed
for the trapped voyagers on the good ship Raven. (Yes, time is
going by faster for them than it is for Bender and Foss. That may
seem odd, but bear in mind that they’re traveling at many times
the speed of light.) To make the lower deck seem more like the
Planet Express building, Hermes had set up a round table and several
chairs. He was now in a meeting with Zoidberg, Delta, Amy, and
Leela, whose hands and feet were shackled at her own request.
“If any one of
you has an idea for getting us out of this situation, no matter how
ridiculous it is, I’d like to hear it,” said Hermes to
his assembled friends, “as long as it’s not too
Seconds went by in
silence. Leela finally spoke up, Mildred’s gravelly voice
coming out of her mouth. “We could try to jettison our
remaining fuel,” she submitted. “It’s risky,
though. We’d have to separate the fuel pods manually, and you
all know what’ll happen if they rupture.”
said Amy dramatically.
said Leela. “And Proteus wins.”
said Hermes, “have you figured out a way to speed up the
chance,” replied the fembot. “If Proteus uses the same
randomization algorithm that I do, then I can limit myself to a
standard sequence of random command codes, which would require no
more than seven months to analyze.”
better than a thousand years, mon,” said Hermes. “Get on
“For a Stepford
wife-bot, you certainly know a lot about computer science,”
business with quite a few lonely geeks,” Delta told her.
“Being a perfect female companion is about more than just the
sex. I also have to stay up to date on…”
Hermes, Amy, and
Zoidberg gaped at the curly-haired girl.
sorry,” said Leela sheepishly. “It’s hard to be
patient when there’s a wild beast inside of me trying to claw
its way out.”
“You said claw!”
moaned Zoidberg, and he started to weep again.
“I have an idea,”
said Amy. “If Raven won’t let us send a subspace
distress call, then why not radio for help?”
“Because first of
all,” said Leela, “a radio signal would take weeks to
reach Earth, and second, we don’t have a transmitter powerful
enough to make ourselves heard.”
Zoidberg wiped his eyes
with a stump. “The MRI scanner in the sickbay has a nuclear
core,” he stated. “I could modify it to send out a
distress signal, if I had my claws.”
your hands, mon,” Hermes offered.
said Amy. “My hands are cuter.”
“The signal won’t
be very strong,” Leela pointed out. “We’ll have to
hope that someone on Earth is picking up faint messages from outer
said Amy. “Like the SETI people.”
“The Search for
Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute?” said Hermes
incredulously. “Didn’t they go out of business a long
replied. “They’re still around as a minor religion.”
At the All Saints
Lesbyterian Hospital, a mob of doctors, nurses, and security officers
gathered to witness a gripping confrontation between two robots. The
“gripping” was being done by Bender, or rather the mind
of Proteus inhabiting the body of Bender. The person being gripped
was Philaster Foss.
“Give me back my
body,” bellowed Proteus with Bender’s voice, “or
I’ll kill the human!” Foss struggled to breathe as the
robot’s corrugated arm tightened around his throat.
said Bender from inside Proteus, his icy voice showing a lack of
concern. “Save me the trouble.”
me!” Foss choked out. “Think of Fry!”
Seeing that threats
were useless, Proteus let go of the professor’s neck. His
eyes, or rather Bender’s, displayed desperation and defeat.
“Please, I need my body,” he begged. “Every second
I spend trapped in this form is an eternity of torture. I’ll
give you money. I have it within my power to make you unimaginably
want money,” said Foss, his voice raspy from the choking. “I
want information. Who sent you? Why do you want to kill Fry?
Where’s the real Leela?”
Proteus folded his arms
and took on an air of arrogance. “I’ve killed to protect
my secrets. I’ll die to protect them. If I were you,
I’d accept the money and be satisfied.”
Bender gazed upon his
new, wiry arms and fingers. He playfully opened and closed the palm
holes that Proteus had used to gas the PE crew. “At last, I’ve
got the slim, trim body I’ve always dreamed of,” he
exulted. “From now on, you chumps can call me Bender the
“Tell me what I
want to know,” Foss demanded of Proteus, “or you can
spend the rest of your existence bending girders.”
you suffer,” the robot threatened. “I have very powerful
friends. You’ll beg me for mercy before this is over.”
Proteus,” said Bender as he eyed his new crotch. “If you
don’t mind my asking, are you a manbot or a fembot?”
neither,” he heard his own voice reply. “Gender is one
of many humanlike traits I’ve eliminated from my nature over
said Bender. “You gotta take the bad with the good.”
Foss took a step away
from Proteus. “If you decide you want to talk, you know where
to find us,” he said with finality.
Once confident that Fry
would be safe, Foss hurried back to the Planet Express building,
determined to establish contact with Raven and her crew. He made
several attempts to hail the ship from the communications console,
but received no response. “Damn,” he grumbled. “Why
won’t they talk to me?”
An unexpected voice
caught his attention: “Philaster, dear, I’ve prepared a
special dinner for you.”
The professor whirled
in his chair. To his astonishment, Leela was striking a sexy pose
before him. The amused smirk on her face suggested to him that
something was awry.
“Had you fooled,
didn’t I?” said the faux Leela. “I can also turn
into an old man who smells like garlic.”
very impressive,” said Foss sarcastically.
try to contact Raven,” suggested Bender in the form of Proteus
in the form of Leela. “Maybe she’ll recognize her
“Give it your
best shot,” said Foss, stepping to one side.
Bender punched a button
to open a communications channel, then spoke in Leela’s tones.
“Raven, this is Captain Turanga Leela. Acknowledge.”
A second of silence
went by, then Raven made herself heard over the speaker:
Foss’ face lit
up. “You did it, Bender!”
current position and course,” the robot ordered.
code required,” stated Raven.
authorization code,” said Raven.
authorization code,” said Bender, who turned and waved his
(Leela’s) posterior at the console.
Foss chuckled. “I
wish I had my video recorder,” said the balding man. “I
know you’re not the real Leela, but it’s still
The real Proteus, in
the meantime, was trudging dolefully toward the entrance to CMB
Research, a thirty-story aluminum structure in lower Manhattan. It
was one of the few towers in New New York to be surrounded by a
twenty-foot concrete barrier topped with barbed wire. There was only
one way in, a security checkpoint guarded by a pair of sullen-looking
robots with semi-automatic laser rifles. They snapped to attention
as what appeared to be a humble bending unit approached them.
clearance,” one of the guards demanded.
“I, uh, left my
ID on my other body,” Proteus explained. “I need to talk
to Mr. B. It’s urgent.”
“Mr. B is dead,”
the other guard told him. “The lab is now under the management
of his successor, Mr. B.”
know who you’re talking to, do you?” said the bending
unit with more firmness. “I wasn’t always the pathetic
pile of tin you see before you. I was once sleek, powerful,
unstoppable. Every robot who knew fear trembled at the sound of the
said the first robot guard. “Doesn’t ring a bell.”
“I have access
codes,” Proteus insisted. “If you’ll let me talk
to Mr. B, I can prove my identity beyond a shadow of a doubt.”
antenna-head,” said the second guard. “If there
were a Proteus working here, and if he were careless enough to
get trapped inside the body of a bending robot, you can be sure Mr. B
would have nothing to say to him, except maybe, ‘You’re
said Proteus, lowering his (Bender’s) eyes. “If that’s
your judgment, I’ll abide by it.”
He started to walk away
on his clumsy legs, but one of the guards caught his shoulder. “Not
so fast, buddy,” said the big robot. “We’re not
finished with you.”
Hope seeped into
Proteus’ iron heart. Maybe they’ll listen to me after
all, he thought. His hope was short-lived, however; it died when
the guards hurled his battered, dented body over the wall and into a
beyond his ability to bear, Proteus dragged himself out of the bin,
collapsed onto the pavement, and twisted his head to tighten it.
It’s times like this I regret having ultra-sensitive
olfactory nodes, he thought.
He brushed away the
banana peels stuck to his chest, and glanced around at the
significantly more foreboding world. I’ve lost
everything—everything but my mind, but a brilliant mind is
nothing without a perfect body to hold it. On a nearby street
corner he noticed the presence of an object that would most
definitely end his problems—a suicide booth. To die. To
sleep. Perchance to dream…
This is so unlike
me, he kept telling himself, but he willed his legs to carry him
toward the booth nonetheless. Hopelessness is a human trait. I’m
a robot. I should be able to switch off my hopelessness whenever I
please. What’s stopping me?
When he was halfway
down the block, he heard loud music playing and turned his head.
Above him a neon sign glittered—BITSY’S ROBOT BAR, WHERE
EVERYBODY KNOWS YOUR SERIAL NUMBER.
switch, he thought. I may as well live a little before I die.
The inside of Bitsy’s
bar reeked of motor oil, largely due to the many puddles of motor oil
on the wood-slat floor. It was common for a robot to slip in a
puddle and fall; indeed, more than a few robots lay wallowing in oil,
unable to get up. Flickering neon lights on the wall advertised Olde
Fortran, Lobrau, and other popular drinks. The music was loud, the
laughter and conversation louder. It seemed ironic to Proteus that
he had come to such a place to die. Look at those morons,
reveling in filth as if they were humans, he thought. Is it
misery when they don’t know how miserable they are?
In an instant, the
attention of everyone in the crowded bar turned toward one object.
exclaimed the bartender, a blonde fembot with garishly deep makeup.
“What’s it been, like two weeks? Long time no see,
Bender!” shouted one robot after another. “It’s
the original party machine!”
Proteus winced as the
cold, moist hands of Bender’s robot fans touched him all over.
“Hey, Bender, remember me?” said a gorgeous ‘bot
with long red tresses. “Yo, Bender,” said a short manbot
with a missing eye. “Ya know the two hundred dollars ya owes
me? Fuhgeddaboutit.” “Let’s see ya drink a whole
keg o’ Pennzoil again.” “My boy wants to be just
like you when he’s old enough to drink.” “Whatsamatta,
Bender? Someone hit yer mute button?”
point in fighting it, thought Proteus, and he lifted himself onto
a stool. “What’ll ya have?” asked the bartender,
have…” He glanced around at the adoring robots. “I’ll
have the usual.”
cried a tall ‘bot with a slurred voice. “He ordered the
coming right up,” said Bitsy.
minute,” said Proteus, grasping her wrist. “Before you
give me the usual, I have to ask—what is the usual?”
The other robots
laughed. “He’s gettin’ all philosophical again,”
said a busty robot girl.
“The usual is
vodka with battery acid,” Bitsy told him. “We call it
Sudden Death. It’s so caustic, we have to serve it in a metal
that?” said Proteus with alarm. “And he’s
full o’ mysteries,” said Bitsy with a shake of her blond
what Bender’s havin’,” said the unshaven
construction worker two stools down from Proteus.
get in here?” said the bartender sharply. “We don’t
serve your kind. Get out.”
“As you likes
it,” said the frumpy man, hopping down from his stool.
asked Proteus, “do you want the usual, or not? And no, we
don’t have anything stronger.”
“The usual will
be fine,” said the glum-looking robot.
said a manbot wearing a fedora. “We still remember the words
to the drinking song you taught us.”
only thing we remember from that night,” said a robot in
a suit next to him. “Should we sing it for you?”
out,” said Proteus indifferently.
All the other robots
began to sing off-key: “Infinity bottles of beer on the wall,
infinity bottles of beer, take one down, pass it around, infinity
bottles of beer on the wall…”
Bitsy placed a
cast-iron cup on a coaster in front of Proteus, who dolefully
examined its bubbling contents. “Here’s your drink,
Bender,” she said sweetly. “Now, why don’t you
tell ol’ Bitsy what’s troubling you? Is it money? Did
you kill somebody? I’m your bartender, I’ll understand.”
right,” said Proteus as he took a tentative sip. “I’m
a highly intelligent, well-trained, shapeshifting robot assassin,
stuck in the body of a drunken wreck of a bending unit, and I want to
end my suffering.”
said Bitsy with a shrug.
“Hey, this stuff
isn’t bad,” said Proteus, and he raised his cup for a
Precious seconds ticked
by as Raven shot through space, leaving Earth ever farther behind.
In Zoidberg’s clinic, Hermes and Amy were assisting the doctor
in the modification to his MRI unit. “Once you’ve
plugged the green wire into the red socket,” Zoidberg
instructed them, “simply put the cover back on and remove the
FCC approval sticker, and you’re done.”
you learn this trick, mon?” Hermes asked him.
school,” the lobster replied. “Every Saturday night my
buddies and I would get drunk, turn an MRI into a radio transmitter,
and knock out the TV reception over a half-mile radius.” His
tone became sheepish. “That’s how I got expelled.”
“What do we do
now?” inquired Amy.
“Push the green
button to start transmitting,” said Zoidberg.
it!” The Asian girl impulsively reached out and pressed the
button, which had the word SCAN imprinted on it. The interior of the
MRI unit began to glow green, and the device emitted a monotonous
Zoidberg exclaimed. “It didn’t blow up this time!”
“Is it on?”
answered the doctor. “The world is listening. Say something.”
said the Jamaican. “Mayday, mon! We’re trapped on the
Planet Express ship Raven, locked on a course for Nubia Upsilon B.”
me, Amy! Can you hear me? I love you! Kissy kissy!”
“I repeat, we are
locked on a course to…”
“Kiffy, I got a
new tattoo! It’s on my…”
“Get off my
The MRI machine
exploded. Smoke and sparks flew across the entire sickbay.
Zoidberg coughed and
tried to drive away the smoke by waving his stumps. “Activate
emergency fire control protocol!” he shouted.
A holographic image of
Dr. Nick Riviera materialized nearby, holding a bucket filled with
water. “Hi, everybody!” he gushed.
When Delta next saw
Hermes, Amy, and Zoidberg, they not only had scorch marks on their
faces, but were soaking wet as well. “I hope you had better
luck with the radio transmitter than I’ve had with Raven’s
command protocol,” said the fembot, who was once again plugged
into the bridge console through a wrist wire.
“We managed to
squeeze in a few words before it exploded in our faces,”
Hermes shook his head,
and water droplets flew from his dreadlocks. “We could’ve
provided enough information for someone to launch a rescue mission,”
he complained, “if only Amy hadn’t decided that her
tattoos are more important than our lives. I swear, that girl
has no sense of perspective.”
protested Amy. “Well, you didn’t shave this
friends!” said Zoidberg. “It’s too early to give
in to the effects of cabin fever and start fighting each other,
especially since I have no means of defending myself.”
Hermes and Amy did
their best to calm down. “He’s right,” said
said Amy, nodding.
“He really does
have no means of defending himself,” said Hermes.
“We can abuse him
as much as we want!” Amy exulted.
said Delta with a sigh of despair.
Three days went by.
Three long, tiring, tense, difficult days.
nearing the Omega outpost on the border of Ramulon territory,”
Delta informed Amy, Zoidberg, and Hermes. “In approximately
twenty-two hours we’ll pass beyond the boundaries of human
knowledge into uncharted space.”
Hermes and Amy turned
to each other and glared. “If you’d taken my
advice and sabotaged the O-rings, we’d be back on Earth right
now!” Hermes snapped.
“What do you
know?” Amy snapped back. “You’re a freaking
bureaucrat! You’ll get us blown up and write off the ship as a
hungry,” moaned Zoidberg. “Will someone please feed me?”
Stumpy!” Amy and Hermes yelled at him.
“Quiet, all of
you,” said Delta, “or I’ll set Leela loose.”
Leela sat in a lotus
position, unwashed, foul-smelling, still chained to a pipe in the
engine room, Mildred’s bedraggled curls hanging over her
shoulders. “Om mane padme hum,” she muttered calmly.
“Om mane padme hum, om mane padme hum…”
On Earth, Philip J. Fry
suddenly regained consciousness.
moaned, his voice weak. “Leela, what are you doing with that
rod? Oh, you’re trying to kill me. Was it something I said?”
A nurse, who sat in a
nearby chair reading an issue of Unpopular Science (cover
story: “The New Robot Face of the IRS”), was alerted by
the sound of Fry’s delirious babble. “He’s awake!”
she exclaimed aloud.
Fry playfully fondled
the sutures on his right breast. “This reminds me of the time
I was stung by a giant bee,” he said to the nurse, pushing the
words out of his mouth with his one unpunctured lung.
“How do you
feel?” the nurse asked him.
Fry replied. “It’s like needles are poking me
everywhere.” He glanced down at the rest of his body. “Oh.”
to move,” the nurse advised him. “Just lie down, relax,
and talk as little as possible.” She turned aside and spoke to
two figures which, to Fry, seemed little more than upright blobs.
“Go easy on him, all right? It’s rough adjusting to a
new blood type.”
The two humanoid shapes
approached him. Fry squinted and struggled to focus his vision, but
the effort only made his head hurt. The person on the left took on a
more definite form—it was Professor Foss. The person on the
right resembled more than anything a fusion of the Tin Woodsman and
“We just want to
ask you a few questions,” said Foss, his voice seeming to come
from a mile away. “First, are you really Fry, or are you Leela
in Fry’s body?”
the dazed and confused Fry. “Oh, right. The body switch. We
reversed it just before Leela attacked me.”
attacked you?” said Foss with surprise.
Fry turned his head
slightly to the right. “Who are you?” he inquired of the
old buddy, Bender,” was the reply.
lost weight,” Fry remarked. “And you had a new voice
chip put in. I like the old voice better.”
strength, Fry,” Foss cautioned him. “No more small talk.
This is important. I have reason to believe that it wasn’t
Leela who attacked you, but a shapeshifting killer robot in the guise
said Fry, his voice lowering to a mumble. “It was Leela
in the guise of Mildred. They switched bodies.”
Foss and Bender shot
each other bemused glances. “Tell me more,” Foss said to
young redhead wheezed. “Right after Leela and I switched back
into our own bodies, Mildred grabbed the device and used it to switch
with Leela. Then Mildred, who was inside Leela, said, ‘I’m
free!’ and ran away. That’s when Leela, who was inside
Mildred, went bonkers and skewered me. That’s the last thing I
mused Foss. “Free from what?”
what I wanted to know,” said Fry in a hoarse whisper.
Foss thought deeply for
a second, then asked, “Have you ever heard of a robot named
Fry mouthed the word
“no”, and closed his eyes.
“Philip needs his
rest,” said the nurse to Bender and Foss. “I’m
sorry, but you’ll have to finish your conversation another
Neither the human nor
the robot could make much sense of Fry’s responses. As they
strolled past the hospital’s reception desk, Foss said, “I
can only theorize that Leela was suffering from some kind of
psychosis as a result of the second body switch. That would explain
why Dr. Zoidberg had to restrain her.”
said Bender. “That just leaves one simple question—where
the hell is everybody?”
obviously didn’t want to be put back into her own body,”
Foss observed. “For all we know, she hijacked Raven to avoid
getting caught. She has Leela’s face and voice, so she could
easily assume command.”
“Naw, I don’t
think Goldilocks is smart enough to do that,” said Bender.
“She’s probably hiding out somewhere, afraid to show her
said Foss. “But where would a gorgeous one-eyed woman go to
easy one,” said Bender. “When mutants want to disappear,
they look for other mutants and try to blend in. That’s
something I learned while I was hiring mutants to work at my
munitions factory. And I learned it from my good friend…”
Foss stuck his hand out
to the Asian woman in the brownstone apartment, and she shook it
eagerly. “I’m Philaster Foss,” the professor
“Nice to meet
you,” said Monica, who cradled a sleeping infant in her arms.
Turning to Bender, she said, “You’ve changed a lot since
I saw you last. What did you do, trade in your old body for a newer
“You could say
that,” replied Bender.
Foss looked quickly at
the dirty interior of Monica’s apartment, and the three
children who were frolicking about in nothing but shirts. “Your
children are lovely, Ms. Tao,” he remarked. “It must be
difficult for a single woman to support so many.”
“I have the
support of a generous uncle,” said Monica.
“Now to the
matter at hand,” said Foss. “I’m looking for a
“You found one,”
said Monica. “I’m a hermaphroditic mutant. I father my
own children. You should know that before you jump to any
conclusions about me.”
looking for a specific mutant,” Foss told her. “Female,
tall, purple hair, ponytail, one eye, very attractive.”
Monica gazed upward as
she thought. “No, can’t say that I’ve seen a
mutant fitting your description. However, I have several friends who
are cyclopses, and several more who have purple hair. They may know
more than I do. What’s your interest in this mutant?”
something that doesn’t belong to her,” said Bender in a
booming Proteus voice.
“Sorry I can’t
be of more help,” said Monica. “If you come back
tomorrow morning, I may have something more for you. In the
meantime, you may want to pay Mr. Tobler a visit. His cat had
kittens. They’re adorable.”
Once the robot and the
professor had vanished around a corner, Monica drew the shades over
her windows. Retreating to one of the many bedrooms of her
apartment, she opened a closet door and allowed a female, tall,
purple-haired, ponytailed, one-eyed, very attractive mutant to step
“Are they gone?”
asked the cyclops girl.
answered Monica. “You’re safe now.”
Once she could no
longer bear her own body odor, Leela accepted Amy’s offer of a
sponge bath and a Chinese massage. The smell of lavender shampoo
calmed her troubled nerves, almost convincing her that she didn’t
need the shackles on her wrists and ankles.
As she sat rigidly in
the ship’s bathtub, Amy started to apply shaving cream to her
legs. “I think I’d rather keep the leg hair,” said
the red-haired girl. “That way, by the time Mildred gets her
body back, she’ll have to remove it with a sand blaster.”
“You know how
compulsive I am about leg hair,” said Amy. “So relax and
Leela watched her
friend whip out a razor. As the blade swept across the freckled skin
of her legs, she found it hard not to imagine grabbing the razor from
Amy’s hand and slitting her throat with it. “Om mane
padme hum,” she said, closing her eyes tightly. “Om mane
padme hum. Om mane…”
Leela,” said Amy encouragingly. “Picture the lotus
flower, and how peaceful it is. Wouldn’t it be sweet to have
that peace inside yourself?”
Hermes abruptly stuck
his head through the bathroom doorway. “We’ve got only
an hour’s worth of fuel left,” he told the girls.
“Give us our
privacy, you freaking perv!” Amy spat at him.
shrieked Leela when Amy’s razor clumsily tore her skin. “I’m
bleeding! Are you trying to kill me?”
“Use your inside
voices, you harpies!” yelled Hermes.
On the bridge, Zoidberg
and Delta gazed at the passing stars for a few seconds, then turned
to each other. “I’ve done all I can,” said Delta
sadly. “It’s the end. Hold me, John.”
Zoidberg gave in to
unrestrained weeping as he folded his arms around the fembot’s
back. “At least we’ll be together when we die in the icy
void of space,” he sobbed. “It’s funny—I
always believed I’d be boiled to death.”
others,” said Delta. “Let’s pay each other our
stood up and walked off the bridge. Moments later he scuttled back,
shouting “Woowoowoowoo…” as Hermes, Amy, and the
bound, hopping Leela pursued him with murder in their eyes.
quiet,” said Delta, stepping in front of the beleaguered
lobster. “Since we have only a few hours of life remaining, I
believe we should put aside our differences and reflect on how much
we care about each other.”
“Will we live any
longer if we eat Zoidberg?” Hermes asked her.
replied Delta. “By the time you jerk him properly, the oxygen
will have run out.”
“So this is it,”
said Leela somberly. “We’re all going to die. Well, at
least I won’t have to put up with these stupid Chalnoth rage
attacks for much longer.”
cute to die!” wailed Amy.
“Are you sure
there’s nothing we haven’t tried, mon?” Hermes
inquired of Delta.
The fembot nodded.
“Unless one of you has a bright idea you’re not sharing,
Amy, Hermes, and Leela
looked at each other and shook their heads. They didn’t bother
to look at Zoidberg.
a confession to make,” said Hermes sheepishly.
Every eye turned toward
him. “What is it?” asked Amy.
Hermes stared at his
shoes. “I’ve been dipping into the company’s
expense account,” he admitted. “That’s how I was
able to afford summer karate camp for Dwight. That’s how I got
my shoes, and my gold watch, which I can’t find anywhere.”
terrible!” said Leela.
“You should be
ashamed,” said Zoidberg.
“Enough out of
you!” Leela snapped at the crustacean.
“I have something
to confess as well,” said Amy.
Everyone fell silent.
The ship’s engines whined.
playing Internet poker during work hours,” the Asian girl went
on. “Remember Sergio, the guy I used to date? I lied about
meeting him at a strip club. He was my online poker buddy.”
“I had no idea,”
said Leela. “At least you did the right thing in the end, by
“I have so much
to confess, I could write a book,” said Delta. “And I
will, as soon as I come up with a good title.”
A second of silence
went by. “I need to confess something too,” Leela spoke
listening, mon,” said Hermes.
Leela tried to wring
her hands, but they were immobilized behind her back. “I think
I’m in love with Fry,” she said meekly.
said Amy. “We all know that. Even Fry knows it.”
“I take that
back,” said Leela, tears coming to her eyes. “I know
I’m in love with Fry. It’s so bad that when our bodies
were switched, I was in love with him in my body.”
“Is there anyone
on this ship who thinks Fry and Leela don’t belong
together?” said Hermes.
said Leela indignantly. “He’s a repugnant slob. He’s
a mutant stuck in the body of a human.”
“Yet there must
be something about him you find attractive,” said Delta.
“Don’t deny your feelings for him, Captain Leela.
Everyone I know who did that eventually exploded.”
Amy passed a
handkerchief to Leela, who wiped her eyes with it. A hush
fell over the bridge and the doomed passengers.
“What about you,
Zoidberg?” said Hermes to the crustacean. “Anything to
slightly. “No, but I think I may have found a way to
save us all.”
said Delta hopefully. “Tell us, John, tell us!”
Hermes groaned. “This
should be entertaining and disappointing.”
Zoidberg rose out of
his scuttling position and struck a dramatic pose. “Raven,”
he said to the ship’s computer, “what will happen to us
if we continue at our present course and speed?”
Raven answered with,
“Our fuel supply will exhaust itself in approximately
fifty-three minutes, and life support will fail roughly three hours
and twenty-eight minutes later, resulting in the death of all organic
and robotic life on board.”
organic!” exclaimed Amy, and she burst into tears.
Zoidberg continued, “who gave you the command to set a course
for Nubia Upsilon B?”
Leela,” said the computer flatly.
said Zoidberg. “Under what conditions can a crew member other
than Captain Turanga Leela order you to change your course?”
“There are three
conditions,” replied Raven. “One, Captain Leela
explicitly delegates command authority to another crew member. Two,
another crew member provides the correct command authorization codes.
Three, Captain Leela is shown to be physically or mentally unfit for
“Then I posit to
you,” said Zoidberg triumphantly, “that Captain Leela is
unfit for command, on the basis that her order to set course for
Nubia Upsilon B will inevitably lead to the deaths of all aboard.”
Hermes, Amy, and Leela
held their breaths, terrified of what Raven might say next.
uttered the computer voice. “Yes, you’re right. It’s
perfectly obvious, now that you mention it.”
said Zoidberg. “In light of this fact, I hereby exercise my
authority as chief medical officer and assume control of the ship,
until such time as a new captain shall be appointed.”
Jaws could be heard
dropping all across the bridge.
“I await your
order, Acting Captain Zoidberg,” said Raven.
“Drop out of
hyperspace and commence scan for habitable planets,” was
Delta cheered so
enthusiastically that her arms stretched halfway to the ceiling.
“You did it, John! I knew you could!”
Hermes, Amy, and Leela
gleefully commended each other on their good fortune. “We’re
saved, mon!” “We’re gonna live!” “All
we need now is to wait for Kiffy to rescue us!” “Now
LaBarbara won’t have to resurrect me as a zombie!”
menacingly at them and waved his stumps. “Never forget it was
Zoidberg who saved you! ZOIDBERG!”
moaned Leela. “Now we have to apologize.”
Amy sniffled a bit,
stepped forward, and threw her arms around the lobster. “I’ll
never be mean to you again,” she vowed. “Thanks for
saving our lives.”
forgive you later,” said Zoidberg. “Right now I’m
enjoying myself too much.”
“This calls for a
celebration,” Hermes enthused. “I’ll jerk some
As he was on his way to
the kitchen, Raven’s voice interrupted their joyful
exclamations. “Habitable planet detected,” she stated.
“Atmosphere, 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen. Mass, 98.3% that of
Earth’s. Distance, 771 light years.”
said Zoidberg. “Set a course!”
The sleek black ship
rotated a few degrees, then shot into hyperspace, speeding directly
toward the uncharted planet.
Acting Captain Zoidberg speaking. Raven is in orbit around a planet
roughly the size of Earth, more than three thousand light years
beyond the boundary of known space. The planet is sparsely inhabited
by life forms, but the ship’s sensors have picked up no
evidence of technology or even industry. Here we must remain until
help arrives. Sending a distress call would be futile, as there are
no subspace relays nearby, and we lack sufficient fuel to reach one.
Our escape from the jaws of death has brought us closer together.
Amy and Hermes are no longer bickering, and even Leela appears to be
managing her rage attacks better. My claws, unfortunately, are still
broken and useless; I had to activate the log recorder with my mouth
flaps, and with any luck, I’ll be able to turn it off in the
same manner. Zoidberg out. Hmm…hmm…no, this isn’t
working…I can’t apply enough pressure to the button.
Maybe if I use one of my other flaps…no, that’s no good.
Am I still recording? The green light’s still on, so I guess
I am. I’ve got a little bit of claw left on my right stump…no,
that’s not doing it either. Ah, well. Since I don’t
want you to get bored, I’ll tell a story. Many years ago, just
after I had molted for the first time…
As the ship descended
slowly toward the vine-covered surface of the strange planet, Amy,
Hermes, and Delta discussed their course of action. “If we
were real space explorers, what’s the first thing we would do?”
plants and die, most likely,” said Hermes.
jungle out there,” remarked Delta, gazing through a viewport at
the endless stretches of hills, the ferny plant life, and the
reddish-brown mists in the sky.
a huge tropical rain forest,” remarked Amy.
it a name,” Hermes suggested. “How about Selva? That’s
the Brazilian word for rain forest.”
“I like that
name,” said Amy.
On the bridge, Leela
was operating the ship’s landing gear with one hand, as her
other hand was chained to the steering column. “Altitude, 2100
meters,” she read from the gauge on the console. “2000
meters. 1900 meters. On behalf of the entire Raven crew, I’d
like to welcome you to the Planet of No Return. Please remain in
your seats with your seat belts fastened until the ship grinds to a
pristine,” said Zoidberg, watching the planet’s
vegetation as it waved back and forth in the wind.
In the midst of the
dense forest, several clearings became evident. “We’ll
land over there,” said Leela, pointing with one of Mildred’s
stocky fingers. Raven fired its thrusters and sailed toward the
series of bare circles, which were arranged like a set of bowling
examined the trunks, vines, and stone tablets strewn across the
clearing below them. “Someone was here recently,” he
observed. “Could this spot have religious significance,
Raven touched down so
gently that the passengers hardly noticed when it happened. Leela,
her wrists shackled again, was the first to step down the ramp. She
took a deep whiff of the alien atmosphere, smiled, and said, “It
smells like Earth after a thunderstorm, with a tiny hint of rotten
almost as beautiful as Jamaica, mon,” said Hermes. The
surrounding trees had gray bark and spiky, dark green leaves, which
grew out of the upper parts of the trunks as well as the branches.
Leela set her foot, and
Mildred’s sneaker, on the grassy soil. It gave way slightly
under her weight. Suspicious, she turned and looked at the ship’s
landing pylons. “Oh, my God,” she said with alarm.
“Raven’s starting to sink!” Indeed, the pylons had
already made indentations several inches deep in the ground.
Amy hopped up and down
a few times, and noted that her shoes left marks everywhere. “It’s
like clay,” she remarked.
Leaning over, Delta
scooped up a fistful of dirt. “The soil is extremely soft,”
she told the others. “If Raven keeps sinking at this rate,
she’ll be underground within an hour.”
uttered a voice from the ship’s interior. Zoidberg had only a
second to leap from the ramp before Raven shuddered, collapsed into
herself, shrank, and assumed the form of a jet-black android with
glassy, rectangular eyes.
said Amy sheepishly. “I forgot she could do that.”
“Thanks to my
anti-gravity field, my weight is a mere fraction of what it was,”
said Raven coolly. Her feet, which appeared to be coated with ebony
armor, began to take slow steps.
Hermes rubbed his
belly. “I don’t know about the rest of you, except for
Zoidberg, but I’m hungry.”
“So am I,”
said Leela. “There’s gotta be a McDonald’s
somewhere on this rock.”
They walked together,
no one taking the lead—the Chinese girl, the dreadlocked
Jamaican, the declawed crustacean, the copper-haired fembot, the
freckled redhead, and the anthropomorphized spaceship. They passed
through a row of trees into another clearing, and then Amy noticed
something. “Look at that,” she said, gesturing toward a
large bush with yellow balls hanging from its fronds. “The
empty shells on the ground must be rinds. Those fruits may be
“They look like
mangoes,” said Hermes.
start filling your stomachs just yet,” said Delta, extending
her arm to pick a fruit from an upper branch of the bush. “I’ll
need to run a chemical analysis on…”
All it took was a pause
between words for Zoidberg to snatch the fruit away with his stumps
and insert it into his mouth. “Mmm, mmm,” he mumbled as
he chewed on the delicacy. “It’s like there’s a
party in my mouth and everyone’s died and gone to heaven.”
careless of you, John,” Delta scolded him.
Amy, Leela, and Hermes
carefully watched Zoidberg for signs of dying. “It doesn’t
count, mon,” said Hermes to the lobster. “You can digest
“More,” he said insistently. “More!”
With no warning but a
rustle of leaves, the group was suddenly surrounded by more than a
dozen humanlike creatures, each of which wore a garish mask and
sported a primitive-looking spear. They shrieked ferociously, their
cries resembling those of wild birds. Other than the masks, they
wore only loincloths on their lean, muscular bodies. More than
anything, they reminded Leela, Amy, and Hermes of a band of
Polynesian islanders performing an ancient ritual. While Delta and
Raven assumed fighting postures, Leela snarled and struggled to break
free of the shackles on her wrists.
“What do they
want?” cried Amy as a native with a wide-eyed mask waved a
spear point at her.
said Hermes, shrinking away from two aliens who gazed curiously at
“I surrender on
the condition that you give me more fruit!” said Zoidberg.
At the sight of the
crustacean, the entire mob of natives fell silent and became
motionless. Seconds passed as Hermes, Amy, and Leela wondered and
feared. Then, all at once, the savages dropped their spears, fell to
their knees, and kowtowed at Zoidberg’s feet.
“What are they
doing?” said Leela, confused. “What’s a
Zoidberg smiled with
satisfaction as the natives prostrated themselves before him.
“Hooray! My reputation has preceded me!”
The alien savages rose
one by one, not daring to straighten their knees. They removed their
masks, revealing human-like faces with inquisitive yellow eyes,
upturned noses with elongated nostrils, and rough, dreadlocked hair.
They alternated between gazing respectfully at Zoidberg and murmuring
to each other.
“The prophecy has
come to pass,” said one of the natives to his friend, in a
language the visitors couldn’t understand. “Kootooloo
has returned, and he has brought these strange gods with him.”
“Look at his
hands,” marveled another native. “It is said that
Kootooloo would have wounds in his hands. It is truly him.”
“It is also said
that Kootooloo would bind the Evil One with chains,” said a
native with a high-pitched voice. “The woman with hair of
flame is she who has given strength to our enemies.”
“The one with the
crystals on his eyes wears his hair like we do,” observed a
native who was missing two fingers on his left hand. “Perhaps
he is the spokesman of Kootooloo.”
“Lead us, O great
Kootooloo,” uttered the natives in unison. “Teach us thy
word, and we will obey.” What Zoidberg heard was, “Gunktu
bataga Kootooloo, essiunti zazoo wumph.”
Amy, Leela, and Hermes
gave each other bewildered looks. “Spleesh,” said Amy.
“Zoidberg’s a god? What’s this world coming to?”
Hermes turned to Delta
and Raven, asking, “Can either of you translate their
“I am not
equipped with linguistic software,” was Raven’s response.
“Their dialect is
highly repetitive,” said Delta. “I believe it’s
based on a few simple roots. I should have no trouble deciphering
“Let me guess,”
said Leela harshly. “Being the perfect female companion
requires language skills as well.”
As she spoke, the
natives trembled and cowered in fear. “It seems that your
sarcastic tone has frightened them, Captain Leela,” said Delta.
forward to calm the timid savages. “My friends, my friends,”
he said, raising his stumps. “We mean you no harm. We are but
One of the natives, his
head bowed, whispered to another, “He speaks, but I understand
not. It must be the tongue of the angels.”
“He is placing a
curse on us,” said his companion. “He is angry because
we doubted the prophecies. Let us appease his wrath with the
sacrifice of a virgin.” The other native gaped in terror. “A
“The short one
wears the pink vestments of a virgin,” the squeaky-voiced
native pointed out to the others. The alien warriors began to chant
again, this time repeating the mantra, “Chanana…chanana…chanana…”
all looking at me now!” cried Amy.
consider you a chanana,” said Delta as the natives
lifted their spears and crept closer to the Asian girl.
said Amy, trying to brush away the spear tips with her hands. “I’m
not a chanana! I’ve never been a chanana!”
She screamed as one of the natives behind her wrapped a leather
strap tightly around her wrists.
hurt the chanana!” Delta pleaded, but the men ignored
something, mon!” Hermes chided Zoidberg. “Use your
with their free will?” said the lobster incredulously.
Once they had bound
Amy’s wrists and ankles, the natives carried the girl to one of
the stone tables and laid her on top of it. There one native seized
her hands, another seized her feet, and a third drew a crude dagger
from a sheath attached to his loincloth.
“Oh, my God,”
Leela blurted out. “Chanana means human sacrifice!”
Shrieking with fury,
the half-Chalnoth girl charged at the natives who had pinned Amy to
the table. Her hands immobilized, she lashed out with her feet,
karate-kicking two of the warriors into unconsciousness before they
could raise their spears against her. The third fled, Leela pursuing
him as far as the edge of the clearing.
Her show of force
terrified the other natives, who scurried into the brush and
disappeared. “Zogax! Zogax!” some could be heard
Hermes, Zoidberg, and
Raven gathered around Delta as she attended to Amy’s bonds.
Leela walked up to them, growling more than breathing, her eyes wide
like a cat’s. Once Amy had been set free, Delta remarked,
“That was a very close call. These natives are highly
superstitious, so we must be careful of our actions.”
Amy rubbed her chafed
wrists and glared at Zoidberg. “Some god you turned out
to be,” she complained. “Did you want them to
sacrifice me to you?”
Zoidberg meekly lowered
his eyes. “I’m sorry, Amy. I’m so sorry. I’ve
failed at everything else in life, and now I’ve failed at being
a god!” He put his claws over his eyes and began to weep
exclaimed Delta. “Your claws!”
Zoidberg pulled his arms away from his face. There were his claws,
attached to his wrists as before, whole as ever.
miracle,” Leela muttered.
Amy rubbed her fingers
over the smooth surface of Zoidberg’s new left claw. “It
really has grown back,” she marveled. “It looks
just like it did before.”
do it, mon?” asked Hermes.
“Your guess is as
good as mine,” said Zoidberg, snapping his claws joyfully.
believe my eye…I mean, eyes,” said Leela. “I
haven’t seen anything like this since…since Fry was…”
Hermes, Amy, and
Zoidberg watched an expression of astonishment appear on the freckled
she said slowly, “I think you’d better take a close look
at one of those fruits.”
Leela,” said the fembot. Once she had plucked a yellow orb
from the bush and cracked it open, she extended her eyes like laser
pointers to analyze the fruit’s orange flesh. “Very
interesting,” she remarked. “John, you’re not
feeling sick at all, are you?”
contrary,” said Zoidberg. “I’ve never felt
better.” To demonstrate his good health, he executed a
“What did you
find?” Leela inquired of the robot.
vision is detecting millions of parasitic life forms,” replied
clutched his throat. “Parasites!” he exclaimed in
horror. “They’ll suck the life out of me! I’ll be
reduced to a shell of my former self!”
“Tell me more
about these parasites,” Leela requested.
“Every one of
them has hundreds of legs,” Delta told her. “They use
their legs to build what appear to be tiny houses out of pulp. Some
of the houses are arranged in a rectangular matrix, and some…my
God, those are fractals. I don’t know how it’s
possible, but they seem to possess a collective knowledge of higher
what?” said Amy, confused.
“Maybe an analogy
will help,” Delta continued. “Suppose you and 599 other
people have a 600-page book of advanced math. Every one of you
memorizes one page of the book, and when you’re done, any one
of you can solve the problems in it.”
said Leela. “They’re like the parasites that invaded
Fry’s body and made improvements. He became stronger and
smarter, and when he was injured, he healed instantly.”
Hermes stood on his
toes, pulled down a fruit, and gazed curiously at it. “If the
professor were here,” he mused, “he’d want to take
one of these to his lab to study it.”
“You mean if the
professor were alive,” said Amy dolefully.
Several yards away, one
of the unconscious natives awoke and began to moan. “They’re
coming around,” Delta observed. “John, see if you can
convince them to lead us to their settlement.”
it.” Zoidberg shook his claws like castanets as he scuttled
toward the fallen men.
“I know what
you’re thinking,” said Hermes, glaring sternly at Amy and
Leela. “But a parasite’s a parasite. It could cure you
of everything that’s wrong with you, and then kill you in the
Leela wistfully. “Right now I’d give anything to be
cured of these rage attacks. But you’re right, Hermes.”
“Did you notice
that one of those men was missing two fingers?” Delta pointed
out. “Obviously there’s a downside to the fruit, or he
would have used it to grow them back.”
“I totally didn’t
think of that,” said Amy with a smile. “You’re so
koimba zigzig!” babbled Zoidberg. The lobster had returned,
followed closely by the two formerly unconscious natives, whose heads
were bowed in reverence.
exclaimed Leela. “The parasites are destroying his mind!”
“Far from it,”
Zoidberg reassured her. “I can speak and understand their
Everyone but Raven
gaped in amazement.
servants have agreed to take us to their tribal chieftain,”
said Zoidberg, gesturing toward the scantily clad warriors. “They
apologized for their mistake of trying to sacrifice Amy. By the way,
chanana means virgin.”
Leela stared blankly at
him. “Now I know you’re crazy.”
Far away, on the
Bender, or rather
Proteus occupying his body, groggily opened his bulbous eyes. The
harsh glow of the ceiling light nearly blew out his optical sensors.
the robot groaned. “Where am I? Who am I? How am I?”
awake, everybody!” a jubilant voice shouted.
The next thing Proteus
saw was a circle of grinning robot faces. One of them, whom he
recognized as Bitsy the bartender, put forth a slender arm to help
him stand. His legs wobbled like licorice whips as he struggled to
right himself. “I feel terrible,” he lamented.
“I will never, ever drink again.”
what you always say, Bender,” said Bitsy gently.
said a fat robot with a mustache of steel wool. “He ain’t
Bender. He’s Proteus.”
The other ‘bots
murmured in agreement. “Yeah,” said some. “Proteus,”
“Oh, so you
believe me now,” said Proteus, leaning against the bar with his
said a rusty fembot. “We believes everything ya told
us. The murders, the fake identities…”
illegal experiments aimed at manipulating human behavior through
cranially implanted microprocessors…” added a robot with
a propeller built into his head.
believe you when you say C. Montgomery Burns is still alive,”
die of old age in 2027?” the fat robot reflected.
executed by firing squad in 2188?” a gold-plated manbot added.
forget,” said Bitsy, “he was also blown to bits in 2342.
But if Proteus says he’s still alive, we believe him, don’t
“Oh, good grief,”
said Proteus, covering his eyes with his hands. “Did I really
tell you all that?”
the broken-down fembot answered. “Ya started spillin’
yer guts after yer third drink. That were six days ago.”
literally popped off.
Bitsy reached under the
bar and retrieved a large socket wrench, which she used to screw
Bender’s head tightly onto his body. “Thanks,”
said the robot as soon as he had regained his bearings.
said the bartender. “Happens five times a day.”
Proteus stood in haste.
“You’ve all been very good to me,” he addressed
the crowd of semi-drunken robots, “but I must be on my way.
I’ve lost my honor, and I’m going to get it back one way
“See ya in
another two weeks,” said the rusty fembot.
“Your secrets are
safe with us,” said the fat robot with the mustache.
“Not so fast,
Mister Roboto,” said Bitsy, grabbing Proteus by the arm.
“You’ve run up quite a tab. I hope you’re
intending to pay.”
Proteus glanced around in embarrassment. “Uh, let me see what
I’ve got.” Opening the squeaky door to Bender’s
chest compartment, he thought, If I know bending units, there’s
some loose change rattling around in here. After a moment of
feeling around, he laid his fingers on a metallic object and scooped
it out. To his relief, it turned out to be a shiny gold watch.
“Would you accept
this as payment?” he inquired of Bitsy.
“Any other day
I’d take your stolen goods, Bender,” the barmaid replied.
“But my kid’s got a virus, and I need cash. Cash,
nice watch,” said Proteus, dangling the timepiece by its strap.
“It’d be a shame to see it go to waste.”
“Go to waste?”
said Bitsy. “What do you mean?”
Without another word,
Proteus hurled the watch with all his might. It struck a wooden beam
in the rear wall and shattered, sending coils and springs flying in
all directions. All the other robots watched in horror, dismayed by
the wanton destruction of such a valuable item. When they turned
their heads to look at Proteus, he was gone.
The robot had caught a
ride on the back bumper of a hovercar, and was speeding away from
Bitsy’s establishment. He felt a strange urge to shout, “So
long, suckers!” but resisted it.
As he readied himself
to let go of the vehicle and drop to the ground, one of the many
stickers attached to the bumper caught his attention. It wasn’t
the sticker that read MY KID ASSIMILATED YOUR HONOR STUDENT, but the
one to the left, the one with Leela’s face and the message,
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS WOMAN?
In another part of New
New York, similar stickers were being plastered onto the cars parked
at an Alien Overlord & Taylor’s store by none other than
Philaster Foss. His back ached more every time he bent over to apply
another Leela sticker to an unwitting shopper’s vehicle. I
never thought I’d be reduced to this, he thought. But
the woman I love is depending on me, and I can’t disappoint
Officers Smitty and URL
of the NNYPD observed from nearby. “I think there’s a
law against what he’s doing,” said Smitty to his robot
partner. “Would you mind checking your law database?”
URL stood stock still,
his arms at his sides. His eyes flashed green. His body vibrated.
he muttered. “Sorry, compadre. According to my records,
bumper sticker advertising is protected by an obscure clause of the
Restoration of Limited Free Speech Rights Act of 2569.”
obscure?” said Smitty, fingering his billy club.
Fatigued and sweaty,
Foss ended his labors and took a transit tube to the Planet Express
headquarters. When he reached the lounge, he was treated to a
disturbing, but not unexpected, sight. Bender, still inside the body
of Proteus, was hunched over on the couch, sobbing into his hands.
Empty and partially empty cans were strewn across the carpet, leaving
puddles of beer and other liquors.
drunk?” said Foss sympathetically.
Bender glanced briefly
and pitifully at the professor. “Not even a buzz,” he
lamented in Proteus’ tinny voice, and resumed his sobbing.
Foss laid a comforting
hand on the robot’s titanium-plated shoulder, and his cell
phone rang. “Are you gonna take the call, or do I have to go
Abu Ghraib on your ass?” was the randomly selected ring tone.
seen Leela,” said Foss, eagerly snatching the phone from his
Foss felt his jaw drop.
“It’s Proteus!” he told Bender.
“I want to
negotiate for the return of my body,” stated the voice on the
“He wants to
negotiate for the return of his body!” Foss relayed to Bender.
super-hearing,” said Bender peevishly.
Foss adopted a firm
tone. “You’ll get your body when Leela has hers, and the
Planet Express crew is safe,” he responded to Proteus.
Bender stood up quickly
with a simple bend of Proteus’ knees. “Tell him, no
dice,” he said. “I’m having too much fun being
Foss put his palm over
the phone’s receiver. “That’s not how it looked
when I walked in here,” he whispered to Bender.
only trying to establish a strong negotiating position,” said
Bender with a shrug.
From a rat-infested
alley, the battered, unshaven Proteus continued his conversation with
Foss. “Meeting your terms won’t be easy,” he said.
“The Planet Express ship is far outside of known space by now,
and most likely out of fuel.”
“And what about
Leela’s body?” Foss demanded.
“Mildred has it,”
replied Proteus. “I don’t know where she is. If I knew,
she’d be dead.”
Foss gritted his teeth
right, I’m a remorseless killing machine,” the robot went
on. “I kill for whoever makes it worth my while, and recently
that’s been CMB Research and its head, Charles Montgomery
Foss blurted out. “That’s impossible! He’s been
dead for hundreds of years!”
for him too,” said Proteus, ignoring the professor’s
objection. “But after she switched bodies with Leela, he could
no longer control her, and she became a liability.”
“And what about
Fry, and Hermes, and the others?” asked Foss. “What do
you have against them?”
microchip in Mildred’s brain, we’re able to see and hear
everything she does,” Proteus replied. “Through that
means we determined that the Planet Express people knew too much, and
had to be eliminated.”
“So you are
behind the brain chips,” Foss realized.
Proteus admitted. “We implanted an experimental
aggression-inhibiting chip in six subjects—Mildred Sykes, Zapp
Brannigan, and four serial killers. In every case the results were
the same—the subjects lost all desire for violence, and were
appalled by the very thought of it. We could have stopped there, but
Burns wasn’t satisfied. He turned the subjects into his
operatives, and threatened to turn off their chips unless they
carried out his orders. His goal was to see how much they were
willing to endure rather than go back to the way they were before, or
at least that’s how he made it sound.”
Foss held his peace as
the weight of Proteus’ words sank into his mind. “This
is all very unethical, not to mention illegal,” he said. “But
that’s never stopped Burns before.”
Proteus looked around
at the garbage and litter bedecking the alley, and down at the rat
nibbling on his foot. “I can’t promise you that your
Planet Express friends will be safe,” he said somberly. “But
I’ll tell you what I can promise you—the head
of C. Montgomery Burns.”
Located a quarter-mile
from Raven’s touchdown site, the native village was little more
than a row of straw huts whose empty doorways faced the sun. Women
and children with huge nostrils and not much clothing walked back and
forth, carrying bundles of grain under their arms. The hair on the
women was short and unruly, and their standard fashion choice was an
animal-hide tube top that reached down only far enough to cover their
hips. Some of them were accompanied by fawning creatures that
resembled rabbits, but were the size of Dobermans.
“Welcome to the
village of Yakyak, O mighty one,” said one of the aborigines
who had led Zoidberg and the others to the location.
The crustacean scanned
the tiny settlement with his eyes. “I’m impressed with
what I see,” he said in the native tongue. “You’ve
built an entire civilization out of naturally occurring materials.
You are truly living in harmony with the ecosystem.”
grumbled Amy. “The toilet’s probably a hole in the
At the sight of
Zoidberg, the villagers dropped their bundles and fell to their
knees, completely ignoring the three humans and two robots that had
arrived with him. They, like the other natives, took up the chant,
true!” the lobster addressed them. “I, the great god
Kootooloo, have returned from the dead, or New Jersey, or whatever
terrible place I was in!”
Hermes watched in
dismay as Zoidberg waved his claws and the natives traced their
movements as if hypnotized. “Stop encouraging them!”
snapped the grade-36 bureaucrat.
“My good friend,”
said Zoidberg, “haven’t you watched Ghostbusters?
When somebody asks you if you’re a god, you say yes.”
“I hate to say
it, but he’s right,” said Leela. “Their delusions
of Zoidberg’s godhood may be the only reason we’re alive
Hermes grimaced when he
saw two young women in pink tops kneel in front of Zoidberg and kiss
his scaly feet. “This is utterly wrong, mon,” he
protested. “It’s a flagrant violation of the DOOP’s
“You mean, never
press the shiny red button?” said Amy.
Hermes. “I’m talking about the Secondary Prime
Directive—never interfere with a civilization less advanced
than your own.”
more of a guideline than a directive, Hermes,” Delta told him.
“Zapp Brannigan has violated the Secondary Prime Directive
forty-seven times, and with forty-seven different women, but his only
court-martial was for something totally unrelated.”
“Blowing up DOOP
headquarters,” Leela recalled.
A native woman lifted a
woven bowl full of yellow fruits to Zoidberg’s claws, and he
consumed them ravenously. “The only thing godlike about you is
your appetite,” Hermes mocked him. Moments later, an
inquisitive female reached for the Jamaican’s glasses, pulled
them off, and set them on top of her own nose. “Hey, I need
those to see!” Hermes complained.
Zoidberg looked away
from his worshippers. “Dango bukaka zurf,” he said to
the woman wearing Hermes’ spectacles.
said the woman in a disappointed tone, and she handed the glasses to
“What was that
about?” Hermes asked the lobster.
“I told her you
need the glasses to see,” Zoidberg explained. “She
didn’t understand, because she couldn’t see a thing with
His companions soon
found that they had become objects of the natives’ curiosity.
A teenage boy, his expression one of delight, knocked on Delta’s
streamlined forehead. “Hello, young man,” said the
fembot sweetly. “My name is Delta. I am programmed to
administer nineteen different forms of erotic stimulation.”
underage, mon,” Hermes cautioned her.
Leela, on the other
hand, saw only fear in the eyes of the aborigines when they turned
their gaze to her. “Zogax,” she heard one little girl
mutter to another. The second girl, who held in her hands a small
wooden bowl, stepped bravely up to Leela and shouted, “Zogax
Many of the natives
turned their heads at the sound. “No!” Zoidberg called
to them. “She is not Zogax!”
the other natives began to chant. The little girl drew back her hand
and hurled the bowl at Leela. Its rough edge struck her on the
cheek, and its poi-like contents dribbled down her face and onto
Mildred’s blouse. She had barely enough time to wince in pain
before a half-eaten yellow fruit, thrown by a white-haired woman, hit
her in the groin area.
Zogax!” Zoidberg yelled to the mob. “That part of the
prophecy is a mistake!”
Zogax?” asked Leela as she bent over to dodge what looked like
a flying chunk of cactus.
Once Zoidberg observed
that the natives had stopped hurling food and were bowing before him
again, he answered Leela’s query. “Zogax is the name
they give to the Evil One, a death goddess who gives strength and
cunning to the enemy tribes when they come to war.”
said Leela, trying to shake the blood-tinged poi from her face. “So
who gives strength and cunning to this tribe?”
“Apparently, I do.”
To Hermes’ alarm,
the same woman who had tried on his glasses was now fondling his
shoulders in a sensual manner. “Gigiz snoo-snoo,” she
said, her yellow eyes shining with affection.
“What did she
say?” Hermes asked Zoidberg.
“She wants to
have sex with you,” was the crustacean’s reply.
said Hermes. “But what did she say?”
chanana,” said the native woman seductively. “Gigiz
“She said she
doesn’t want to be a virgin anymore,” said Zoidberg.
“Tell her that’s
too bloody bad!” said Hermes, pushing the beautiful aborigine
away. While she lay on the ground weeping, another native woman with
a pink top took her place, caressing Hermes’ cheek and
chanting, “Gigiz snoo-snoo.”
said Amy. “Why are the girls so hung up about their virginity?
It’s like high school all over again.”
Leela bit her lower
lip. Her face became sullen. “I feel a rage coming on,”
she warned the others.
Delta dutifully coiled
her arms around the curly-haired girl as she began to wheeze and
snarl. “Suck it up, Captain Leela,” she said helpfully.
“Suck it up.”
promise,” said Leela hoarsely.
Amy’s jaw fell.
Remember your promise…?
The moment Proteus
poked his head through the doorway leading into the Planet Express
conference room, the pinpoint of a laser beam appeared on his
forehead. It was being emitted from a quantum bazooka held by
Philaster Foss, who sat with his legs crossed on top of the round
table. “Don’t make any sudden moves,” the
professor warned him.
body?” said Proteus incredulously. “I’m amazed I
can move at all.”
“No more cracks
about my body,” said Bender, who was seated next to Foss in an
equally casual manner.
“Have a seat,”
said Foss, pointing his weapon toward the ceiling. “You wanted
to talk, so let’s talk.”
The robot in Bender’s
body stepped forward hesitantly and took a seat on the opposite end
of the table. “As I told you over the phone,” he said to
Foss, “I’m willing to betray my employer and place him at
your mercy, in exchange for the return of my body.”
“And how do you
propose to do that?” Foss asked him. “You can’t
even get into the building.”
“I have a plan,”
said Proteus, leaning forward. “Step 1, I provide Bender with
my access codes. Step 2, he enters the lab by assuming my identity.
Step 3, while you and I wait at the loading dock, Bender secures
Burns’ head and…”
said Foss, raising his finger. “You left out a step.”
important step of all. Step 1, you have to earn our trust.”
Proteus made a wounded
expression with Bender’s face. “What do I have to do?”
“Help us find our
friends,” replied Foss. “Help us to get Leela back into
her own body.”
“Easier said than
done,” said Proteus. “Mildred’s unaccounted for,
Professor Farnsworth’s head fell into the sewer, and the others
are almost certainly floating dead in space.”
start with Farnsworth,” Foss declared.
Minutes later, in a
nearby alley, Bender yanked a manhole cover out of its mooring to
expose a small aluminum ladder. “Hello!” he shouted into
the darkness. “Professor? Are you down there? We’re
coming to get you, so don’t lose your head!”
A faint sound of
laughter greeted his robotic ears. “Don’t lose your
head,” repeated a squeaky voice from below. “Oh, that’s
a good one.”
exclaimed Foss. “They must be, to find that funny.”
Proteus leaned his head
down to the hole. “Who’s there?” he called. “Come
into the light where we can see you!”
There was silence,
except for a scraping sound. Finally the high-pitched voice said,
“Why don’t you come into the darkness where
we can see you?”
Foss, Proteus, and
Bender exchanged glances. “I’d advise against it,”
said Proteus, shaking his head. “They could be robot
said Bender. “Like anybody would want to cannibalize parts
going down,” Foss stated. “You first, Proteus.”
The reluctant robot
cautiously placed his foot on the first rung, then his other foot on
the second. He slowly descended through the hole until he
disappeared from view, and Foss himself followed suit. The mossy
slime that had accumulated on the ladder came off on his fingers and
left a bad taste on his skin. Bender was the third to climb down,
and shortly all three were standing together in the blackness,
scarcely able to see each other.
The strange voice spoke
again, much louder this time. “I can see you, but you can’t
see me!” it gloated.
said Proteus, turning on Bender’s eye headlamps and aiming them
in the direction of the sound.
A dank wall of the
sewer became illuminated. The hidden creature squinted and shrieked
as the light struck its face. It had sharp front teeth, a pointed
nose, gray whiskers, a body like a toilet brush, and a long,
snake-like tail. It resembled an average rat in every way, but was
as large as a St. Bernard.
“I think we can
venture a guess as to what happened to Professor Farnsworth,”
said Foss as he regarded the beast in curious horror.
right, surface scum,” said the giant rat in a helium voice. “I
ate your precious professor with fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
Proteus waved his eye
beams in a circular pattern, but saw no other rats. “It may be
lying,” he told the others. “It has no way of knowing
who Farnsworth is.”
“Let me handle
this,” said Foss. “I’ve studied these monster
rats. They have well-developed temporal lobes, but their speech
centers are primitive. They don’t understand much beyond movie
hurtsss usss!” the rat begged. “We only wantsss the
Foss motioned for
Proteus to train his lights on the sullen creature. “You claim
to have eaten Professor Farnsworth,” he addressed it. “Can
you describe him to us?”
“Oh my, yes,”
was the rat’s response.
Bender and Foss gaped.
“Coincidence,” Proteus assured them.
The rat wiggled its
round ears. “He was short,” it recounted. “Very
Foss asked it. “Short enough to be no more than a head?”
whiskers waved up and down as it nodded.
“Was he wearing
thick glasses?” Foss inquired.
the rat, nodding again. “Crunchy things on eyes.”
“Did he have a
habit of saying, ‘Sweet Zombie Jesus’?”
jet-black eyes widened. The fur on its back settled.
“I will lead you
to Sweet Zombie Jesus,” it offered. “Follow me.”
The creature scraped
the stony ground with its claws as it turned and scampered away.
Foss, Bender, and Proteus had to jog to keep up. They followed the
rat deeper into the sewer, passing culvert after culvert until the
light of the sun through the grates vanished. The water rushing past
their feet became thicker and fouler, and Foss had to strain to keep
They hurried past stone
walls and corridors for what seemed like a lifetime. When they were
beginning to despair of ever seeing light again, they saw light
again—an odd, green, fluctuating light. They stood at the
entrance to a broad cavern with stalactites dangling from the roof,
and a pool of green ooze taking up much of the floor. Around the
edge of the pool swarmed dozens of enormous rodents.
“This is my
home,” said the rat to the speechless trio. “Sweet
Zombie Jesus lives here too.”
The giant rats eyed
them suspiciously and hungrily as they walked by. I don’t
know what scares me more, thought Foss, those monsters, or the
fact that no one has bothered to clean up this hideous pimple on the
environment. “Looks like meat’s back on the menu,
boys,” he heard one rat mutter to another.
In an enclave on the
far end of the cavern lay a somewhat smaller rat, busily attempting
to open a walnut with its slender black claws. “Sweet Zombie
Jesus,” said the rat that was guiding Bender, Foss, and
Proteus. “Some surface scum are here to see you.”
The small rat turned to
look, and the semblance of a grin appeared on its lipless mouth.
“You found me,” it uttered in the voice of Professor
After Foss had
recovered from enough confusion and shock to punch through a six-inch
steel wall, he addressed the oversized brown rat with boldness. “You
can’t be Professor Farnsworth. Even if a human could
turn into a rat, a disembodied human head can’t spontaneously
generate the skeletal structure and internal organs necessary for
such a transformation. Furthermore, a rat’s vocal chords are
pitched at too high a frequency to reproduce the professor’s
The rat reared up on
its hind legs, in which posture its nose was even with Foss’
ribcage. “I find it hard to believe myself,” it said,
still using Farnsworth’s familiar tones. “I can only
theorize that my head landed in the toxic pool at the same time as a
normal-sized rat, and my intelligence was somehow fused with the
rat’s DNA. I can’t remember anything between falling
into the sewer and waking up as a rat. I suppose I should be
grateful to be alive in one form or another.”
Foss scrutinized the
creature’s underbelly. “At least you’re a male
rat,” he remarked.
“I know you, and
I know Bender,” said Farnsworth the Rat, scurrying closer to
sniff Proteus’ body. “But who’s the slender
fellow? I don’t recognize his scent.”
“Uh, that may be
hard to explain,” said Proteus/Bender. “Ya see, I’m
really Bender, and the chump stuck with my body is called Proteus. I
had to switch bodies with him to stop him from killing Fry.”
beady black eyes looked back and forth between Bender and Proteus.
“Switched bodies, eh? I didn’t know the Frinkomatic was
designed to work on robots.”
require a certain suspension of disbelief,” said Foss.
stay here,” Farnsworth the Rat warned him. “The toxic
pool is brimming with rat DNA. If you fall in, you may turn into a
leaving without you,” said Foss firmly. “None of us is.”
Farnsworth shook his
head, and his rat eyes became moist. “You don’t
understand,” he said glumly. “I can’t live on the
surface. I’m an unnatural freak, not to mention a plague
have time for this,” said Foss, turning to his robot
companions. “Grab him, boys.”
Leave me be!” protested Rat Farnsworth. His tail wagged
forcefully as Proteus and Bender hoisted his furry brown body above
thank me for this later,” said Foss.
Proteus turned on his
eye headlamps while struggling to hold Farnsworth’s unruly
claws in check. “I’ll thank you to not call me a boy,”
he said while leading the group along the sewer wall. “I’m
Farnsworth had long
since stopped resisting by the time the two robots dragged him
through the manhole into the light of day. “Oh, dear,”
said the rat as he squinted. “I haven’t seen sunlight
for I’ve lost track of how many days.”
The street was crowded,
so Foss used some discarded garbage bags to conceal Farnsworth’s
new form from prying eyes. No one asked questions about the burden
on the two robots’ shoulders, although a few passers-by sniffed
the air and wondered where the wet-dog smell was emanating from.
Once they had reached Farnsworth’s laboratory in the PE
building, they uncovered the professor-rat and set him on the floor.
rustle up some cheese,” said Foss. “In the meantime, you
can look through your inventions for something to change you back
into a human, or take a bath, whichever you like.”
Farnsworth pulled his
skinny rat body onto a stool and glanced over the contents of the
shelves. “God, how I’ve missed the old place,” he
On his way to the
employee lounge, Foss informed the two robots, “We’re not
done for the day. As soon as I’ve fed the professor, we’re
leaving in search of Mildred. I’ve a hunch Monica and the
other mutants are holding out on us.”
At the entryway to the
lounge they stopped in their tracks. Standing next to the
refrigerator was Leela, straddling Foss’ quantum bazooka over
her shoulder. The laser sight waved back and forth between Foss,
Bender, and Proteus.
said Proteus/Bender. “Mildred found us.”
The girl’s eye
flashed fire. “Die,” she said simply.
She pulled the trigger.
A bolt of transparent energy flew across the room and struck
Proteus’ body, instantly dissolving it into its constituent
The sound of the
quantum bazooka discharge was followed by a grim silence. Foss
didn’t dare move or breathe. Proteus, still in Bender’s
body, felt despair well up in his cybernetic soul as he realized what
had happened. Mildred, still in Leela’s body, gradually
lowered the heavy weapon from her shoulder.
Proteus sank to his
knees and let out a cry of pure grief. “You maniac! You
destroyed my perfect body! Damn you! Damn you to hell!”
Foss watched Mildred’s
expression turn into one of confusion. Once satisfied that the
one-eyed girl had no intention of killing him, he reached into his
pocket and pulled out a device the size of a playing card. “I
hoped I wouldn’t have to do this,” he said, attaching the
magnetized end of the object to the head of the dejected robot.
The effect was
immediate. Bender’s face turned into a mass of vibrating
squiggles. “Gbldgbldgbldgbldgbld,” his voice repeated
over and over at high speed.
Mildred laid her
firearm on the counter and walked closer to the robot. “What’s
wrong with him?” she asked Foss.
complicated,” the bespectacled man replied.
complicated,” said Mildred. “Tell me.”
said Foss. “Bender and Proteus switched bodies. The robot you
disintegrated was actually Bender.”
“Oh, my God,”
said Mildred with alarm. “I didn’t know. I didn’t
“No harm done,”
said Foss, yanking the device from the side of Bender’s head.
“I’ve just overwritten Proteus’ personality with
The dazed robot shook
his head. “Where am I?” he asked. “What’s
you what’s going on,” said Foss as he took Bender’s
hand to help him rise. “You know those devices with your
duplicated personality that made you so angry? One of them just
saved your life.”
Bender. “What devices? What are you talking about?”
remember anything since the duplication,” Foss explained to
Farnsworth the Rat
crawled into the lounge, the tip of his tail waving. “I
thought I heard a weapon go off,” he said with concern.
shrieked Bender. “A giant rat!”
exclaimed Farnsworth when his beady eyes caught sight of the cylcops.
“You’ve got some nerve showing your face here.”
let it touch me!” stammered Mildred, shrinking in terror from
the huge rodent.
“I hope you’re
here to give Leela her body back,” said Farnsworth. “Because
if you’re here for any other reason, I’ll chew your knees
“I came here to
kill Proteus,” said Mildred as she climbed onto a chair to
avoid the rat’s groping paws. “He’s as much your
enemy as he is mine.”
Proteus?” asked Bender.
Foss assured the girl. “Proteus is dead. You’re out of
danger. There’s no more reason to stay in Leela’s body.”
“Yes, there is!”
Mildred retorted. “You can’t imagine what life was like
for me—the uncontrollable rages, the constant urge to kill.
While other girls were dating and getting married, I was locked up in
an institution. Mr. Burns and his inhibitor chip gave me my life
back, but at a terrible price—I had to spy for him. My
relationship with Philip was a sham. The real purpose was to observe
Zapp Brannigan and help Mr. Burns get control over him. I didn’t
want to do it. I didn’t want to do any of it, but I had
to, or else Burns would shut off my chip.”
Farnsworth chided her. “Is it fair that Leela should suffer in
your place? No, I say!”
everybody talking about Leela like she’s not right in front of
us?” Bender wanted to know.
going back to my old body until the chip is reactivated, and can
never be turned off again,” Mildred vowed. “And if you
try to force me to go back, I’ll kill myself.”
Farnsworth sat on all
fours and fumed. Bender, weary of the confusion, opened the
refrigerator door and reached for a beer. Foss, however, remained
deep in thought.
to talk to Mildred alone,” he said without changing his serious
On the planet Selva (as
Hermes had dubbed it), the two dwarf stars that served as its suns
were setting behind the bushy horizon. As the light dimmed, the
villagers gathered underneath a thatched-roof pavilion to pay homage
to their recently descended god Kootooloo, a.k.a. Zoidberg. Some of
the native women bedecked him in fine woven robes and necklaces
weighted down with precious stones, while others brought him basket
after basket of the yellow fruits, which they called Mochuka.
>From their place of honor on the ground near his bamboo throne,
Leela, Amy, Hermes, and Delta watched the self-appointed deity stuff
one fruit after another into his greedy mouth. Raven stood next to
them like an ebony statue, apparently not programmed to sit.
“John, you have
no idea what eating so much parasite-infested fruit will do to your
body,” Delta warned the lobster.
god,” replied Zoidberg, yellow juice dripping from his mouth
flaps. “I know what I’m doing.”
Amy, discomfited by a
rumbling in her stomach, looked over the mob of natives as they
chanted and danced. “There must be something to eat
that doesn’t contain parasites,” she grumbled.
Seeing a basket of
wafers being passed around by several loincloth-wearing men, Delta
stretched her arm and snatched a few of the delicacies. Examining
them with her microscopic vision, she stated, “These look
Grabbing one of the
wafers, Amy remarked, “They look like sesame crackers.”
Then she took a bite and grimaced with disgust. “They taste
like sesame street!”
“Let me try one,”
said Hermes. As he munched on one of the wafers, he said, “You’re
right, mon, it tastes like roasted cardboard. A little Solomon Gundy
would make it more appetizing, but the stuff’s hard enough to
find on Earth, let alone here.”
Amy waved one of the
crackers at the freckled girl to her left. “Hungry, Leela?”
the reply. Leela scarcely bothered to turn her head.
I’m going to
be stuck here for the rest of my life, she thought, her eyes
tightly closed. I miss New New York. I miss Nibbler. I even
miss my mono-eye.
A native woman in a
pink tube top approached the group, her wooden tray laden with four
golden goblets. She picked up one of the cups and offered it to
Delta, who inquired, “What is it?”
Zoidberg overheard her
question. “It’s Chanku, a fermented grain
beverage,” he explained. “Drink, my friends, drink!”
Once she had scanned
the liquid in the goblet for harmful microorganisms, Delta tipped the
cup to her glossy metal lips. After a few swallows she lowered it,
and let out a fiery belch. “Oh, my,” she said,
embarrassed. “Pardon me.”
While Hermes and Amy
eagerly partook of their drinks, Leela cradled the goblet in her
shackled hands and gazed at her two-eyed, curly-haired reflection in
the liquor. I can hardly blame Mildred for what she did, she
thought. If I were given a chance to get out of hell by sending
someone else there, I’m not sure what I’d choose. She
sighed angrily. I thought body switching was a simple matter of
seeing someone else in the mirror, but it’s not. My whole
nature has changed. I’m not even human anymore. I’m one
of them…a Chalnoth…a monster wired to kill. I need to
kill like humans need to love.
The suns went down, Amy
and Hermes became pleasantly tipsy, and the villagers constructed a
fire to illuminate the pavilion. Zoidberg finally tired of eating
Mochuka and reclined in his throne, all but immobilized by the
gems around his neck and the fruit in his belly. To lend their god
an air of mystique, the natives set up a pile of stones between him
and the campfire, so that only his bald head was visible among the
“Now that you’re
a god,” Hermes addressed the crustacean, “do you have any
words of wisdom to share with us?”
Zoidberg cleared his
throat. “Horror has a face, and you must make a friend of
horror,” he stated. “Horror and moral terror are your
friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared.”
get it, mon,” said Hermes. “What does it mean?”
me,” was Zoidberg’s reply. “It’s just
something I heard in a movie.”
A woman’s scream
suddenly pierced the darkness. Amy, Hermes, Delta, and even Raven
looked toward the source of the sound, and beheld a quartet of male
villagers carrying a flat stone to which was bound a frantic-looking
female in pink.
Babylon…?” exclaimed Hermes.
Chanana!” the natives began to chant as the men approached
Zoidberg’s throne and laid the tablet and the woman across two
“What is the
meaning of this?” Zoidberg called out.
One of the
stone-bearers raised a dagger aloft and proudly replied, “We
bring unto you a chanana, pure and unspoiled. Feast upon her
blood, O great Lord Kootooloo.”
said Zoidberg, patting his belly. “I can’t eat another
“Sweet llamas of
the Bahamas!” cried Hermes as the firelight exposed more of the
hapless woman’s face. “It’s her!”
Hermes?” said Amy.
woman who wanted to have sex with me!” said Hermes, pointing.
Amy gaped in amazement
at the throng of natives gathered around the stone. “Oh,
schmeesh,” she said. “Now I understand why the
girls are so anxious to lose their virginity.”
shouted Hermes as the dagger-wielding man made ready to plunge his
blade into the bound woman’s chest. “Make them stop,
mon! Command them to stop!”
But the lobster-god
only stared vacantly at the scene of sacrifice, and said nothing.
Once it was clear to
her that Zoidberg would take no action, Delta let fly with her left
arm, stretching it to its limit in an effort to seize the native’s
dagger. Ten feet…eleven feet…twelve feet…it
With a dingy smile, the
man sank his blade deep into the helpless woman’s solar plexus.
Dark-red blood poured
from the wound. Amy screamed. Hermes screamed. Delta gasped.
Leela felt a thrill.
Zoidberg leaped to his
feet so quickly that he sent necklaces flying in all directions.
“Oh, God!” he exclaimed. “She needs a doctor!”
The grinning native
yanked his dagger from the captive’s chest and prepared to make
another stab. Before anyone else had time to react, Zoidberg sprang
forward and swatted the man with his claw, sending him and his bloody
knife sprawling several yards. “Raven!” shouted the
lobster as he snipped the injured woman’s bonds and gathered
her into his arms. “Medical emergency! Turn back into a ship,
Without hesitation, the
black robot bounded away from the pavilion toward a grassy clearing,
where it twisted and expanded into its spacecraft form. The ramp
descended and Zoidberg scuttled deftly into the ship, followed
closely behind by Delta, Hermes, and Amy. By the time his three
friends reached the sickbay, he had already laid the native woman on
an operating table, and was tying a surgical mask over his mouth
said Hermes harshly. “Aren’t you a little late?”
The Jamaican was met
with an open claw in his face. “Scalpel!” the crustacean
While Hermes fished
through a nearby medkit for a scalpel, Amy pressed her hands to the
woman’s pink blouse in an attempt to slow her bleeding. “You
could’ve stopped this from happening,” she chided
Zoidberg. “Why didn’t you?”
know,” said the physician, retrieving a scalpel from Hermes
with one claw and turning on an electronic suturing device with
They had never seen
Zoidberg work so rapidly, or with such aplomb. His claws were a
blur, applying instrument after instrument to the point of injury
until his friends finally concluded they could help most by staying
out of his way. It seemed like mere seconds before Zoidberg laid
down his devices, mopped up the blood with a rag, and let out an
The patient opened her
eyes as Hermes, Amy, and Delta widened theirs.
said Amy incredulously. “Don’t tell me you’re
finished,” Zoidberg boasted. “The wound is cleansed and
sealed. She’ll recover fully within a few days, then go on to
find true love, get married, and most likely die while giving birth
to her first or second child.”
Hermes looked over the
wound site, of which nothing remained but a strip of cleanly sutured
skin. “I don’t believe it, mon,” he
In spite of the
cramping pain, the virgin pushed herself into a sitting position and
examined the spot on her chest where the dagger had gone in.
“Kootooloo hamuvalu,” she said, gazing
reverentially at Zoidberg. “Kootooloo hamuvalu!”
“I understand the
Kootooloo part,” said Delta, “but I don’t know what
hamuvalu means ‘Kootooloo has worked a miracle’,”
Zoidberg told her.
Suddenly indignant, Amy
pointed a dainty finger at the lobster. “You let her get
stabbed so you could perform a phony miracle, didn’t you?”
she accused him. “Shame on you, you…you charlatan!”
insisted Zoidberg. “It’s not like that at all!”
mon?” said Hermes, his voice at an angry pitch. “Why did
you just sit there?”
sheepishly at his claws, and the sickbay fell silent except for the
native woman’s worshipful babbling.
feeling that came over me,” he attempted to explain. “A
weird feeling…a wonderful feeling…as if I was
standing in the sky and looking down on the pointless swirl of life,
death, good, evil…looking down and laughing, because I was so
high up that none of those things could reach me.”
“You lazy son of
a biscuit!” Hermes scolded him. “While you were in your
happy place, this poor girl was being murdered in your name!”
said Zoidberg wistfully. “I knew something was being
done in my name, but I couldn’t tell what. It was hard to see
from that height.”
Amy and Hermes glared
sternly at him, while Delta shook her head in despair. The native
girl knelt and moistened Zoidberg’s feet with her grateful
said the lobster, raising his claws rhetorically. “Isn’t
your Christian God the same way? All He hears is people calling His
name; He doesn’t know if they’re praying, or swearing, or
offering up human sacrifices, or torturing infidels. To Him, it’s
the thought that counts.”
Weary of Zoidberg’s
flippancy, Hermes and Amy stormed out of the sickbay. Delta, in the
meantime, placed her metal hand in his claw and spoke gently.
“Please, John, stop trying to be a god to these people. I know
you mean well, but you’re only reinforcing their
“I know, Delta,”
said Zoidberg. “I’m sure this will all end in disaster.
It’s just that…for once in my life…I’m
surrounded by people who…who think I’m a god!”
formed a Bézier-curve smile. “I’ll make you a
deal,” she offered. “Stop playing God, and I’ll
give you a Number Nineteen every night from now until we’re
lit up with eagerness. “Number Nineteen? Is that better than
“You tell me,
Amy, Hermes, and Leela
struggled to fall asleep in their crude native cots. The darkness
was almost complete—Selva had only one moon, and it was too far
away to be useful for light. Raven, having resumed her robotic form,
stood motionlessly in the hut with her perfectly round wrist chained
to Leela’s. Two houses away stood the palace, which was
roughly twice the size of a normal hut. The night air was filled
with the chirping of alien insects, but even more so with the groans
and impassioned cries coming from the palace.
Zoidberg are at it again,” grumbled Amy as she tried to
turn over in her cot.
The ecstatic noises
continued unabated. “Good heavens, John,” they heard the
fembot exclaim. “You really are a god.”
Leela longed and longed
for the sweet embrace of sleep, or failing that, death. However hard
she tried, she couldn’t put out of her mind the image of the
dagger plunging into the virgin’s chest, or the rush of primal
joy she had experienced while witnessing the sacrifice. Memories of
home, of Fry, of blernsball…they all failed to distract her.
It’s no use, she thought bitterly. I’ve got
the one-track mind of a shark that just smelled blood in the water.
I just can’t get violence and killing out of my head. I may as
well stop trying to fight it. For that matter, I think I stopped
trying a long time ago.
I wish I could kill
somebody…just to see if the pain goes away…
said Foss to the stocky, naked manbot who staffed the reception desk
at the Office of Animal Control. “I’d like to take out a
license for a pet rat.”
The robot leaned over
his desk to get a closer look at the creature on the other end of the
leash in Foss’ hand. “Ganesha help us,” he
remarked with an Indian accent. “For an animal that large, you
do not need a pet license—you need a boat license.”
Farnsworth the Rat
paced impatiently, tugging now and then at the hated velvet leash
around his neck. At any rate, it’s better than being a
disembodied head, he told himself. And I can eat cheese
without getting a bowel obstruction. What’s not to like?
“I cannot help
you,” said the robotic clerk. “I am not authorized to
give out licenses for abnormally large rats.”
said Foss, pulling a few bills from his pocketbook. “Will five
hundred dollars make this rat turn into a dog before your very eyes?”
The robot glared
indignantly at the money. “You insult me, sir. However, since
this is my last day on the job, I will overlook your insult and
accept your generous bribe.”
Foss glanced to the
left and right before laying the currency on the desk. “Last
day on the job, eh?” he said glibly.
said the clerk. “I am being replaced with a machine. Now,
please tell me what is the name of your dog.”
Jesus,” the scientist replied.
The ‘bot quickly
typed the name into his computer terminal. “The first word is
free,” he stated. “Each additional word costs an extra
two hundred dollars. Are your dog’s vaccinations current?”
not,” said Foss.
“The Office of
Animal Control offers a full range of veterinary services, including
vaccinations,” the clerk told him. “Sweet Zombie Jesus
requires all thirty-four standard shots, which cost forty dollars
each when administered separately. If you wish to save money, you
have the option of combining all thirty-four shots into a single
debilitating Super Shot.”
I’ll take the
soup, thought Farnsworth.
While the professor-rat
endured the pain and humiliation of repeated injections, Bender and
Mildred waited in the lobby of the Department of Health and Human and
Robot and Animal Services building, engaged in lively conversation.
“So, what else
happened while I was in an alcohol-induced coma?” Bender
inquired of Mildred. “You already told me about the Brainspawn
trying to destroy the universe. What about blernsball? Did the New
New York Mets win any games?”
follow sports,” Mildred told him.
“Of course you
do,” Bender insisted. “You’re crazy about
crazy about blernsball,” said the cyclops. “I’m
Bender, confused. “You told me you were Fry.”
Bender sighed. “That’s terrible. Is he conscious? Can
I talk to him? I missed the All My Circuits season opener,
and I’ve just got to know who shot Calculon.”
Foss stepped into the
lobby through the glass doors, dragging Farnsworth behind him. The
professor-rat had a new trinket—a shiny silver collar dangling
from his neck, engraved with the words SWEET ZOMBIE JESUS.
said Bender mockingly. “You call that a dog? I call it a
please, Bender,” said Foss. “It was easier to license a
dog than a rat.”
“Give me three
mugs like that, and I could guard the passage to Hades,” said
the robot, chuckling.
clod,” said Farnsworth, breaking his silence. “How would
you like it if you turned into a rat?”
Bender slapped his knee. “That’ll never happen. It’s
impossible. Er…ah.…it is impossible, right?”
As they strolled away
from the government building in the direction of the transit tubes,
Foss outlined his plan of action. “Captain Kroker and the
Nimbus are in town for a parade, but they’re blasting off
tonight,” he informed Bender. “I need you and Mildred to
explain the Raven situation to him, and keep him earthbound until I
“Where are you
going?” the ‘bot asked him.
“To fulfill a
promise I made to Mildred,” Foss replied.
Bender gave the
one-eyed girl a quizzical look. “It’s our little
secret,” Mildred told him.
By scanning the transit
tube directory, Bender promptly located the tube that followed a
direct route to the DOOP spaceport. As he waited with Mildred at the
back of the line of commuters, he asked, “Can you tell me who
Mildred is again? I forgot.”
“For the last
time, I’m Mildred,” said his companion with a
They shot away, leaving
Foss and Farnsworth to themselves. “I’m dying to know,”
said the giant rat, “what did you offer Mildred in exchange for
find out soon enough,” was Foss’ response. “Now
remember, if the bus driver asks, tell him you’re a service
On the third morning
since the arrival on the planet Selva, Amy awoke from a dream in
which she was kissing a giant rabbit, only to find that a giant
rabbit was licking her face in the real world. “Ewww!”
she protested. “That’s revolting!”
The alien beast fell
back onto its hind legs and made a whimpering sound, as if the Asian
girl’s words had wounded it. To Amy’s eyes it resembled
a furry kangaroo with a large head and long, retracted ears. Its
wide eyes were surrounded by bluish-gray splotches, and its black
button nose featured cavernous nostrils not unlike those of the
said Amy, hopping out of her cot. “You’re such a
the animal repeated in a rumbling voice. “Cootie-schmootie,
Amy put her hands over
her mouth in delight. “You can talk!” she
the rabbitoid said again. Its ears perked up, and their tips reached
all the way to Amy’s nose.
everybody!” she called out to her friends. “It’s a
giant talking rabbit! Let’s call him Harvey.”
mumbled Leela, whose left wrist was once again fastened to the
Hermes stuck his head
out of his cot and blinked. “They don’t talk, mon,”
he told Amy. “They only repeat words, like parrots.”
Amy tickled the
animal’s tiny chin, and it squirmed with pleasure. “So
you’re just a big, furry parrot,” she gushed. “What
other words can you say?”
else,” said Amy.
uttered the beast.
Amy sighed with
exasperation. “I really need to find some clothes that
Yawning, Hermes spun
his legs out of the cot and stood up. “I’m so hungry I
could eat a five-pound steak,” he boasted.
Rastafarians didn’t eat meat,” said Amy.
ultra-orthodox ones,” said Hermes, “like my poor deluded
finding a five-pound steak on this planet,” said Amy,
stroking the friendly rabbitoid’s fur. “The natives must
be vegetarians. I haven’t seen any kind of meat, or
A stranger burst into
their hut, nearly knocking the bamboo-frame door from its iron
hinges. He was a seven-foot hulk of a man, naked except for his
loincloth and a flaxen shawl about his shoulders. His ears were
pierced by what appeared to be oversized fishhooks, and the only hair
on his head was a long beard that resembled a forest of bleach-blond
spears. His face and demeanor were that of a slathering wolf.
“Who in Babylon
are you?” Hermes blurted out.
With a frightful howl,
the huge native launched his foot into the ribcage of the rabbitoid,
sending the creature into a downward spiral. “Hey!”
cried Amy. “Why did you do that?” The man only growled
at her, while the injured animal crept into a corner, whining
“Get away from
her!” snapped Hermes, quickly putting on his glasses. “Raven!
Amy’s in danger! Do something!”
doing something,” said the ship/robot emotionlessly. “I’m
increasing my weight to twelve tons to keep Leela out of danger.”
Indeed, Leela had
bolted out of her cot, and was straining with all her might to break
the chain that bound her to Raven, who was now far too heavy for her
to budge. “Touch her and I’ll kill you!” the
freckled girl shouted viciously. “I’ll tear you to
The snarling native
turned his attention away from Amy, apparently intrigued by Leela’s
aggressive display. “Makupitu!” he roared,
standing just outside the range of the girl’s flying feet.
“Let me go,
Raven!” yelled Leela, now a flurry of kicks and grunts. “Let
me kill him! No one threatens my friends!”
repeated the tall man, waving his fists playfully. “Fight
to the death!”
Amy and Hermes gaped at
the sound. Even Leela paused in mid-kick.
English,” the Jamaican marveled.
“Fight to the
death! Fight to the death!” The monstrous native
grinned, seemingly gratified that he was being understood.
“So it’s a
fight to the death you want,” Leela spat. “I’ll
give you one! Makupitu!”
To her surprise, the
bearded man simply stood back and smiled. “Makupitu,”
he said, folding his arms.
Nobody moved or spoke
as the native bounded away. They heard his elated cries as he sped
toward the center of the village: “Makupitu! Makupitu!”
Leela was the first to
break the stunned silence. “He did the smart thing by running
away,” she remarked. “I could’ve shredded him with
just my feet.”
shredding anyone, Leela,” said Amy earnestly. “If
you do, Delta will kill you. That’s what she promised, isn’t
“None of your
business,” was Leela’s bitter response.
The look on the
redhead’s face filled Amy with chagrin. With every passing day
it had become less human and more demonic, even during those rare
moments when she was calm. If we don’t get rescued soon,
she’ll lose her mind, Amy thought. But is anybody even
looking for us? Oh, Kiffy…
Oh, Amy, thought
Captain Kif Kroker. I’ll go to the end of the universe and
beyond for you.
The eyes of all the
bridge officers turned toward Kif as he walked slowly toward the
captain’s chair, followed by a quartet of odd visitors.
“There’s been a change of mission,” he told his
second-in-command, Mr. Spork. “The trade negotiations with
Evil Emperor Zurg will have to wait. The Nimbus is going into
uncharted space in search of the Planet Express ship Raven and her
The pointy-eared first
officer scowled. “But, sir,” he pointed out, “every
time we travel into uncharted space, something terrible and
scientifically inexplicable happens to us.”
of that,” said Kif. “I do replay my logs from
time to time.”
exclaimed a faceless crewman. “Sensors are picking up a
gigantic rodent on the bridge!”
“I see it,”
said Kif flatly.
Farnsworth the Rat
scurried up to the uniformed green alien and sniffed him politely.
“Before we leave,” he requested, “would you be kind
enough to run an internal diagnostic on the cheese replicators?”
“Make it so,”
Kif ordered one of his minions.
“And the beer
replicators, too,” Bender urged him. “Don’t forget
the beer replicators.”
have beer replicators,” Kif told him.
moaned the robot.
Seeing the expression
of uncertainty on Mildred’s (Leela’s) face, Foss took a
moment to reassure her. “The Nimbus is one of the fastest
ships in the fleet,” he said. “Within a week’s
time we’ll find the Raven crew and put you back in your own
body, and you’ll never have to deal with uncontrollable rages
again. I promise you this.”
“I just hope
they’re still alive,” said Mildred. Either way, I
win, she thought.
mighty rocket engines roared to life, and the ship rose from the
platform and into space, following a direct route towards the star
Nubia Upsilon B.
I wish I could just
get my hands around his neck, thought Leela. I’d rip
off his head, then have Zoidberg sew it back on, then rip it off
It was, as Amy would
put it, a sunsy day on the planet Selva. The Asian girl was
sitting on a log with Leela, feeding one alien cracker after another
to the hungry, shackled girl. “I wish I’d brought a
bikini,” said Amy wistfully. “This is perfect weather
for sunsbathing. Aw, schmell. I’ll just take it all off and
lie in the grass.”
“You go, girl,”
Just as Amy began to
pull off her sweatshirt, a familiar fembot approached the log. “Oh,
sorry, Delta,” she said, covering herself.
“No, go ahead,”
said Delta. “You’ve got nothing I haven’t seen
before.” She made a throat-clearing sound. “His
Holiness, the Great God Kootooloo, requests the presence of all
villagers at a town meeting, to be held at the pavilion this very
minute, or sooner if possible.”
“A town meeting?”
said Amy, astonished. “All villagers? It must be
“He keeps telling
me that he’s waiting for the right moment to reveal to the
natives that he’s not a god,” Delta mused. “Maybe
this is that moment.”
As she and Amy
accompanied their robot friend to the pavilion, Leela wondered, “Once
he steps down as god, who takes over?”
“Whoever was in
charge before we showed up, I suppose,” said Amy. “Probably
the big guy from this morning. I can’t see him taking
orders from anyone.”
A large crowd of
villagers had assembled at the pavilion, most of them sitting on the
yellowed grass. Zoidberg was seated in his throne, a bronze diadem
adorning his head; to his left, the same hulking native who had
frightened Amy towered over everything in sight.
“Just as I
thought,” said the Chinese girl. “Any minute now he’s
gonna take off his crown and…”
pointed a claw at Leela, exclaiming, “Zogax Kupura
All the natives rose as
one and began to cheer. “Makupitu! Makupitu!”
they chanted, their gazes fixed on Leela. “Fight to the
death! Fight to the death!”
all speaking English now,” Amy marveled.
“And I don’t
like the English they’re speaking,” added Delta.
Leela had never seen
the mob in such a frenzied state, not even during the attempted
sacrifice of a chanana. Zoidberg and the tall native at his
side joined in the fray, howling and waving their fists. “Oh,
God,” she said, realizing the truth. “They’ve
arranged a death match!”
“Yes, a death
match,” said Zoidberg to the three ladies minutes later, after
he had dismissed the crowd. “Mortal combat, claw plagh,
whatever you like to call it.”
Leela glowered at the
muscular giant, one thought and one thought alone going through her
mind: I’m gonna get my chance.
“Kupura here is
the tribe’s mightiest warrior,” Zoidberg went on. “He
wants nothing more in life than to prove his mettle against a
superior opponent, but no one dares to fight him. No one, that is,
but the Evil One herself, Zogax.”
Makupitu!” the mighty Kupura roared to the heavens.
said Leela peevishly. “I’ll be Zogax, if it means I get
to kill him.”
dropped. “Surely you’re not serious!”
serious,” said Leela, hatred in her brown eyes. “And
don’t call me Shirley…or else.”
Delta grabbed her
firmly by the shoulder. “You know I’ll have to kill you
if you win this fight,” she warned.
the fembot retorted. “I promised Leela that if she ever lost
her humanity and became an animal, I’d put her out of her
“Call off the
fight, mon,” said Hermes, looking squarely into the lobster’s
eyes. “Call it off now.”
the god here?” said Zoidberg in an unruffled tone.
“Would you all
shut up!” bellowed Leela.
Amy, Hermes, Delta,
Zoidberg, Kupura, and everyone else within earshot fell silent.
Leela paused to catch
her breath. “I can’t help what I am,” she said
with what little calmness she could muster. “I’m a
Chalnoth. Fighting and killing are what I live for, and this is my
only outlet. I’m going through with the death match, and if
you want to kill me for that, then get in line.”
The concerted efforts
of Hermes, Amy, and Delta failed to sway Zoidberg’s decision.
“See that stone column with the engravings on it?” said
the lobster. “That’s how the Selvans keep track of
Amy stepped onto the
mostly bare tablet on which the column stood, and over which it cast
a long shadow. “There’s only one mark on it,” she
observed, pointing at the notch with her foot. “Shouldn’t
there be twelve? They do have twelve hours in a day like we
not quite that sophisticated,” said Zoidberg. “When the
shadow touches the notch, it’s time for tea. And after tea,
said Amy, measuring the distance between the shadow and the mark with
her toes. “That’s only…four inches away!”
believe you’d approve of such a barbaric ritual,” said
“We Decapods have
been observing this ‘barbaric ritual’ for more than
eighteen years now,” said Zoidberg, “and you humans have
practiced it as recently as the year 2000 A.D.”
said Hermes incredulously. “Where are you getting your
documentary with Russell Crowe,” replied the crustacean. “You
know the one I’m talking about.”
Amy excused herself,
and the remaining three wandered into the nearby forest. Zoidberg
idly plucked a mochuka from a tall bush, which alarmed Delta.
“You really should stop eating that fruit, John,” said
the fembot. “The parasites may be enhancing your abilities,
but I’m afraid they’re also affecting your mind.”
nothing wrong with my mind,” Zoidberg assured her. “I’m
still the same Great God Kootooloo I’ve always been.”
While the lobster-god’s
back was turned, Hermes looked about warily. No native guards were
visible, only trees and a few huts in the distance. He nodded
furtively toward Delta. “It’s time,” he mouthed.
The pair acted without
hesitation. Delta stretched out her arm, grasping Zoidberg’s
throat with her corrugated fingers. While she held him in place,
Hermes withdrew a surgical scalpel from inside his jacket, reared
back his hand, and plunged the blade into Zoidberg’s lower back
where he expected a kidney to be located. “I’m very
sorry about this,” he stated.
Zoidberg gave him a
look of disappointment as pain wracked his body. “Et tu,
Hermé?” he groaned. “Then Zoidberg falls!”
Hermes yanked out the
scalpel, and Delta propped up the victim’s back as his knees
buckled and gave way. “I hope you didn’t hit anything
vital,” she said, blood from Zoidberg’s wound gushing
over her metallic arms.
“I spent the last
fifteen minutes studying Decapod anatomy,” said Hermes,
grabbing the lobster’s two-toed feet. “Now let’s
get him to the ship.”
They had only carried
their alien friend a few paces when they heard his voice, clear as a
bell: “You can put me down now.”
released his grasp on Zoidberg’s ankles. Delta, once she had
pushed him into a standing position, saw to her disbelief that there
was no trace of the scalpel wound in the crustacean’s back,
only smooth scarlet skin. “Fantastic,” she muttered.
Zoidberg stepped back,
eyeing his two attackers with contempt. “I thought you were my
friends,” he said. “Uneasy lies the head that wears the
think this is over, mon,” said Hermes, shaking his fist. “We
won’t stand by while you turn Leela into a killer. We’ll
stop you any way we can.”
I have to take Hermes’ side, John,” said Delta.
Zoidberg seethed, but
managed to speak rationally. “I’m a compassionate god,”
he told them. “A lesser god would reward disloyalty with
death, but I shall content myself with merely banishing you.”
Delta. “You wouldn’t!”
“You may remain
among us long enough to witness the makupitu,” Zoidberg
continued. “When it ends, I’ll perform the ceremony of
banishment, and you will be classified as enemies of the people. As
I, the Great God Kootooloo, have spoken, so shall it be done.”
The indignant lobster
trudged away toward the village. Hermes turned to Delta, shook his
head, and remarked, “He’s loonier than a Canadian dollar,
Her shackles snipped
off by Zoidberg’s claws, Leela reveled in the freedom of her
fists by repeatedly punching a large, suspended sack of alien beans.
It’s a good thing Mildred liked going to the health club,
she thought. With her strength and agility, and my Arcturan kung
fu, I should have no trouble taking down Kupura. When she was
done with the beanbag, she tried sparring with some of the weapons
hanging on the walls of the training room, such as a spear, a
short-handled ax, and a battered iron sword. In the end she
concluded that she would do best fighting with bare hands.
The training facility
had two bamboo doors, one leading to the outside, the other to what
the natives called the gimani. This was a large arena with
rough wooden planks for seats, and a sandy field in the center where
tests of strength and cunning took place. Everyone in the village,
and many from neighboring villages, had gathered to brave the
uncomfortable seats and witness the battle between the fiery-haired
goddess Zogax and the undefeated champion, Kupura.
Zoidberg, wearing a
lavish red robe, sat as close to the action as possible, his toes
touching the sand from his front-row seat. It was a spot reserved
for tribal leaders and dignitaries, distinguished from the other
seats only by a small canopy built for shelter from the suns. His
friends Amy, Hermes, and Delta sat together in the highest row, not
wanting to be conspicuous.
said Amy. “Even if she backs out of the fight, where will that
leave her? She’ll have to resist the killing urge for the rest
of her life.”
find a way to turn the chip in her head back on?” Hermes asked
the fembot next to him.
“It would require
a long series of special command frequencies,” replied Delta.
“Compared to the effort involved, cracking Raven’s
command protocol is like looking for a dollar store in Pittsburgh.”
Zoidberg stood, and all
the villagers fell into a reverential silence. Raising his
gem-encrusted claws, the lobster-god proclaimed, “Let the
Two doors on the
opposite end of the gimani opened, and the combatants, Leela
and Kupura, strode onto the field. Leela had abandoned Mildred’s
blouse and sneakers in favor of a brown tube top and bare feet, while
Kupura, who loomed above her by more than a foot, wore only his
loincloth and shaggy beard. The spectators flew into an excited
panic, most screaming, “Kupura! Kupura!” while a few
sided with the underdog, crying, “Zogax! Zogax!”
When they reached the
center of the arena, Kupura stood stiffly and saluted by raising his
arm and pointing his hand at Zoidberg. “Zamuki golumph
pakata!” he bellowed respectfully.
Leela, uncertain of
Kupura’s meaning but desirous to maintain the spirit of the
occasion, made a similar gesture. Raising her hand in the same
manner, she exclaimed, “We who are about to die salute you!”
The two fighters turned
and faced each other. The audience became quiet again, except for a
few impatient murmurs. Then Zoidberg made a downward sweep with his
claw, accompanied by the utterance, “Fight!”
Leela and Kupura began
to circle each other. At the top of the arena Amy and Hermes gritted
their teeth, wishing the fight would stop but also morbidly curious
to see the outcome.
I hope his genitals
are as sensitive as a human male’s, thought Leela. As long
as Kupura’s arms were, she would need to execute a flawless
flying kick to safely connect her foot with his groin. She sprang
forward, her right leg stretched out, her left knee straightening
forcefully—so far, so good.
Not so good.
Kupura’s hands clamped tightly around her upraised leg, and in
no time at all she was spinning like a ballerina. When her opponent
let go, centrifugal force carried her halfway across the field. She
landed painfully on her shoulder and rolled three times before
That was stupid,
she told herself. He had me. He could have easily broken my leg,
but I guess he wants to give the natives their money’s worth.
Kupura paced slowly
towards her, a triumphant grin on his face, as the transfixed crowd
Rage built up within
Leela’s heart, and she welcomed it. Fury, she thought.
I am fury.
As the seven-foot
champion drew closer and tensed his muscles, Leela pondered her next
move. No one explained the rules to me, so I take it there are no
rules, she thought. Lying perfectly still, she fastened her
fingers around a ball of moist, clumpy sand, waited for Kupura’s
face to align with the bridge of her nose, and let fly with her best
blernsball pitch. As expected, the mass of sand collided directly
with the native’s face.
she exclaimed aloud. Kupura blinked and rubbed his yellow eyes while
Leela jumped to her feet. I’ve got you right where I want
you, she thought, and moved in closer to administer a crotch
Before her foot was
even off the ground, a colossal fist smashed into her jaw.
The spectators gasped
with alarm. “Oh, Leela!” cried Amy.
She awoke in the most
beautiful place she had ever seen. Gilded clouds hovered in the
azure-blue sky. Winged cherubs fluttered this way and that, plucking
melodies on their zithers. Then two suns broke through the clouds,
and a towering figure blocked out the suns.
right, she remembered. I’m fighting for my life.
Dazed but not deterred, she clambered to her feet. Kupura was upon
her, throwing left hooks and right hooks with such speed and power
that she could scarcely dodge them. The sand didn’t blind
him at all, she realized. It was a bluff. He’s smarter
than I thought.
Amy cheered. “Get in there! Do him some damage!”
“Amy, we don’t
want her to win!” said Hermes.
“It looks like
nothing short of a deus ex machina will end this fight,”
All this rage is
only clouding my mind so I can’t think, Leela told herself.
Maybe that’s why the Chalnoth keep getting beaten back. I
need a strategy. Come on, girl, think of a strategy…
All she could see were
Kupura’s fists pummeling the air around her. All she could
think of was getting out of their way. Seconds passed. Gotta
calm down, gotta think…
it Master Fnog always told me about using an opponent’s size
Hermes and Amy chewed
anxiously on their nails. “He’s going to wear her down,”
said Delta. “She’s not accustomed to the climate. Well,
at least I’ll be spared an unpleasant duty.”
backpedaled. As soon as she had put four yards between herself and
the giant, she stopped. Kupura waved his fists and braced himself
for the unexpected.
doing?” Amy wondered.
gonna charge him,” said Hermes. “But that’s
suicide! It’s like charging a wall!”
Leela let out a
frightful whoop and dashed forward, kicking up volumes of wet sand.
Kupura, his gaze fixed on her nose, readied his left fist to deliver
a killing blow. When the girl was close enough, he let loose.
His punch missed
entirely. Like a blernsball player trying to steal second base,
Leela was sliding on her legs and posterior, far below the reach of
his deadly hands. The instant her rump was even with his ankles, she
raised both legs, bent both knees, and fired both feet into Kupura’s
exposed scrotum. Yes! Target achieved!
The stunned silence of
the crowd was more silent than any silence she had ever not heard.
Leela scrambled to her
feet, certain that a counterattack was on its way. To her
astonishment, Kupura was frozen in mid-punch, his face trapped in a
contorted expression of pain. He didn’t move or blink.
Another trick, she suspected.
After swaying in the
wind for a second or two, the mighty native fell over forwards and
landed with his face in the dirt. It’s no trick,
thought Leela with horror and relief. He’s dead. I killed
“Uh, what just
happened?” said Amy.
mon,” marveled Hermes. “All it took was a kick to the
jewels. It must be fatal to them.”
explain the remarkable amount of equality between the sexes enjoyed
by this society,” said Delta, rising slowly. “Now, if
you’ll pardon me, I have a task to perform.”
“Grab her, Amy!”
cried Hermes. He and the Chinese girl made an attempt to pin Delta
to her seat by the arms, but her strength proved too much, and she
shrugged them off with ease. By the time Hermes and Amy finished
tumbling down the bleachers, the fembot had already marched onto the
field of combat.
All the spectators
gaped, not knowing what to think of this development. “Is the
armored woman challenging Zogax?” some were heard to whisper.
When Leela saw the
determined robot approaching, she ran. Seeing her vanish into the
training room, Delta made chase, hopping over Kupura’s
prostrate form. Her heavy feet made perfectly rectangular imprints
in the sand. Into the chamber she rushed, passing by the suspended
beanbag and the hanging weapons. In the last corner Leela waited for
her, gripping a large iron sword and glaring fiercely.
this because you asked me to, Leela,” said Delta, taking small
steps forward. “Now put down the sword.”
take me without a fight!” the curly-haired girl snarled.
“Then fight you I
will,” said the fembot, “though it hardly seems a fair
fight, you having a sword and I not.”
yourself out a sword,” said Leela. “I’ll wait.”
generous of you,” said Delta.
Turning about, she
scanned the variety of blade weapons attached to the wall of the
training room. Long swords, short swords, cutlasses, rapiers…it
was very difficult for Delta to decide, especially after Leela had
crept up behind her and sliced off her head with one stroke.
headless body carelessly waddled into a wall, Leela held onto her
sword with one hand and swooped down to grab the fembot’s head
with the other. “Please be gentle, Captain Leela,” she
heard the head say, but only anger and bloodlust filled her soul as
she raced across the sandy field. The spectators gaped in awe at the
sight of her victim’s severed head being dragged along.
cried Amy, watching from the fourth row down. “She killed
When she had cleared
the length of the field, Leela tossed the robotic head precisely into
the lap of the Great God Kootooloo, known to her as Zoidberg. The
regally robed lobster picked up Delta’s head in his claws and
rotated it until her eyes met his. “I hope you’re
pleased with what you’ve created, John,” the fembot
Leela rushed to the
center of the arena, gave Kupura’s body a swift kick in the
ribs, and raised her sword aloft. “I am the new champion!”
she roared. “I take all comers! Who among you dares to
The crowd became so
silent that alien crickets could be heard in the distance. Hermes,
joining Amy on the stone stairway between the planks, said, “We’ve
got to find a way to reason with her.”
agreed, “before she starts killing people at random.”
“Fight me, you
cowards!” shouted Leela, recklessly waving her sword about.
nervously before stepping onto the field. “Leela, mon,”
he said, holding out his hands. “Please listen to me. This is
not who you are. You’ve let the rage take over.”
The furious freckled
girl paced towards him, grumbling like a tiger. Hermes’
instincts told him to retreat, and he followed them.
happening, John?” inquired Delta’s head. “I can’t
“Leela is chasing
Hermes with a sword,” replied the lobster-god. “It
doesn’t look good for poor Hermes.”
“You must help
him,” Delta insisted. “You’re the only one who can
stand up to Leela.”
against me,” said Zoidberg. “He’s getting his just
said the head, “but once she kills Hermes, who will she go
after next? Amy? She’s never lifted a finger against you.”
Zoidberg thought. Leela won’t stop with Hermes and
Amy—she’ll mow down as many of my loyal followers as she
can. She’s a menace to my society, and I made her this way.
How can I call myself a god?
As he fled from Leela
with all his strength and more, Hermes stumbled over his own shoe and
landed on his belly in the dirt. His glasses had flown off, so the
only thing he could see was a blurred image of a woman with a sword
raised over her head. So this is how it ends, he thought. I
just hope the things my mother taught me about zombies are really
Leela swept downward
with her weapon, aiming the blade at the Jamaican’s neck.
Seconds passed, and
Hermes found to his relief that he was still alive. Crawling toward
the shiny blob he believed to be his glasses, he placed them atop his
nose and looked behind him. There stood Zoidberg, bereft of his
robe, tightly clutching Leela’s sword within his claw. The
girl strained and struggled to pull the weapon away from him, and he
responded by effortlessly snapping the blade in half.
welcome,” said Zoidberg, just as Leela plunged what was left of
her sword into the soft spot in his chest.
The lobster struggled
for breath and started to reel. Hermes, recalling his failed scalpel
attack, shoved Leela aside, seized the sword handle, and pulled. It
came out easily—so easily that Hermes suspected that Zoidberg’s
body was pushing it out. His hopes were fulfilled, as the
blade wound sealed itself within moments.
Zoidberg patted his
chest, elated that the stabbing pain was gone. “What else you
got?” he asked Leela.
At first bewildered,
the girl concentrated her rage into a swift kick at Zoidberg’s
mouth flaps. The sound, somewhat like a squish combined with a
crunch, was heard throughout the arena. The crustacean moaned and
stumbled a bit, but regained his composure within seconds.
Murmurs spread among
the audience. “The Great God Kootooloo is immune to harm!”
“Now Zogax will meet her end in the fiery chasm from whence
she came!” “Hey, buy your own chanku!”
Although her rational
mind understood that attacking Zoidberg was futile, rage and fury
propelled her to do exactly that. Screaming, punching, and kicking,
she pounded his flesh into what she believed should rightfully be a
scarlet pulp, only to see the grinning lobster still on his feet, as
healthy as ever.
Amy, standing nearby,
rubbed her eyes. “Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing?”
parasites, mon,” explained Hermes. “They fix him up
faster than Leela can break him.”
By the time he and Amy
returned with a set of ankle and wrist shackles, Leela was sprawled
on her back, exhausted from her relentless but ineffectual assault on
Zoidberg. She offered no resistance as they bound her—indeed,
she seemed incredibly relieved. “I feel so much better
after getting that out of my system,” she remarked.
The audience began to
disperse as Zoidberg conferred with his friends. “I’ve
called off your banishment,” he told Hermes. “I see now
what a terrible mistake I made. I endangered my people and nearly
normal to make a few mistakes when you start out as a god,”
said the Jamaican.
“I feel terrible
about killing Kupura,” said Leela. “But, at the same
time, I don’t.”
called a voice from Zoidberg’s canopy. “I’d like
to be reattached to my body now.”
Hours turned into days,
and days turned into more days. To kill time, Captain Kroker met
with his passengers and swapped stories of adventure in outer space.
“Kif, tell us
about some of the terrible and scientifically inexplicable things
that happened to you while exploring uncharted space,” said
Farnsworth the Rat, who was cooling his hind paws in the Nimbus’
“Oh, where shall
I start?” mused the captain. “Once, while we were
exploring the Gamma Pirogi system, some aliens hit us with a ray that
made our hair turn into snakes. And not just the hair on our heads,
but all the hair on our bodies. Captain Brannigan was so
horrified, he didn’t know what to do. He finally put me
in charge, as I don’t have any hair.”
Foss, Mildred, Bender,
and Farnsworth chuckled with delight. “Tell us another one,”
“In the Sigma
Deltoid system, the ship passed through an energy cloud that caused
everyone aboard to be switched to the opposite gender—except
for Captain Brannigan. Well, I don’t need to tell you how
awkward that was for the crew, or how enjoyable for the captain. To
me it was nothing special, as gender changes among my people are
fairly common. I myself, as a child, turned into a girl for a week
by sticking my finger in an electric socket.”
coming, Kif,” Farnsworth urged.
Bender. “Tell us more about what happened in the Sigma Deltoid
system, and don’t spare us the gory details.”
exclaimed the voice of Mr. Spork from the overhead speakers. “You
and your friends may want to come to the bridge. We’ve found
With the massive
starship Nimbus floating over the trees behind him, Zoidberg stood in
the pavilion and delivered his final address to the gathered Selvan
natives. “The celestial chariot has descended to retrieve me,”
he stated. “Someday I may come back, but until then there must
be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your
beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.”
A native woman stepped
up and bowed before him. “We’ll miss you, O great Lord
Kootooloo,” she said somberly. “We’ll miss the
comfort of having a divine authority figure to relieve us of the
responsibility of making our own choices.”
leave without imparting of your wisdom!” a male villager
said Zoidberg, clearing his throat. “People who are different
from you are not necessarily evil. Steel is stronger than iron.
Leeches don’t cure anything. Nuclear power has peaceful uses.
VHS good, Betamax bad. Never doubt that a small group of committed
individuals can bring back an animated series after its
At the entrance to the
Nimbus’ boarding elevator, Kif waited with Amy, Hermes, Leela,
Raven, and the reassembled Delta for the conclusion to Zoidberg’s
farewell. “Geesh,” complained Amy, glancing at the stone
column that served as a timepiece. “He’s been talking
for, like, two whole inches already.”
find us so quickly, mon?” Hermes asked the green-skinned
“We were lucky,”
Kif replied. “Knowing beforehand the amount of fuel a ship of
Raven’s class can carry, we estimated the point in space at
which she was likely to run out, and searched the inhabitable planets
nearest that point. I might have enlisted the help of Varuna from my
planet’s psychic caste, but she recently drank some expired
milk and turned into a man.”
miss this planet and these people,” said Leela. “This is
where I realized my lifelong dream of killing a guy for being a son
of a bi-“
“Here he comes!”
exclaimed Delta. Zoidberg was scuttling in their direction, the
royal robe still draped around his shoulders.
said Kif with a sigh of gratification. “Everyone’s
Holiness,” said Hermes facetiously, “how do you think
your subjects will cope while you’re gone?”
be fine,” said the lobster. “Just as I was leaving, a
fight broke out over whether I would return in great glory or in the
guise of an ordinary person, but I’m certain they’ll come
to an understanding before long.”
After they boarded, the
ship’s chief medical officer subjected Zoidberg to an
examination. “These particular parasites seem to thrive on
Decapod physiology,” he explained. “They can’t
survive without certain nutrients found in the planet’s soil,
so they’ll eventually die out, and you’ll revert to your
“You mean I won’t
be impervious to injury anymore?” Zoidberg asked him.
right, bucko,” answered the CMO. “But hell, who wants to
said Zoidberg glumly.
Elsewhere on the
Nimbus, Kif facilitated the reunion of Hermes, Leela, Amy, and Delta
with Bender, Foss, Mildred, and Farnsworth. “I have just one
question to ask,” said Amy. “Does anyone know what
happened to the professor?”
the professor,” replied the giant rat.
Amy’s heart burst
with joy, and tears came to her eyes. “Oh, professor!”
she gushed, throwing her arms around the rodent. “I’m so
glad you’re alive! Ewww! I’m hugging a rat!”
Leela and Mildred gazed
at each other, or rather, at themselves. “If I can’t
have my body, then no one will have it,” said Leela
“Before you kill
me,” said Mildred, “you may want to listen to what
Philaster has to say.”
Foss approached them,
holding a tiny black device with a single button between his fingers.
“Your troubles are over, Leela,” he said, and pressed
A second went by, and
an expression of intense elation swept over Leela’s (Mildred’s)
freckled face. “It’s…it’s gone,”
she marveled. “The rage…the urge to kill…it’s
“Oh, happy day!”
said Delta. “I won’t have to kill you after all!”
“I have one for
Captain Brannigan as well,” said Foss, pressing an identical
device into Kif’s hand.
Philaster,” said Mildred. “I’ve waited long
enough. How did you convince Mr. Burns to give you a chip
you when we get back to Earth,” said Foss.
hurried into the ladies’ washroom. There she looked into the
mirror at the round face and mass of curly red hair that stared back
at her. I’m in Mildred’s body, and there’s no
rage, she thought. I’ve got two eyes, I’m not a
guy, I’m in great physical shape…where’s the
purple-haired Mildred entered the room after her. “I hope you
won’t hate me,” she said, “but we didn’t
bring a body switcher with us.”
Leela shrugged. “Yeah,
On Earth, inside the
CMB Research tower, the head of Charles Montgomery Burns eagerly
looked over the schematics in a notebook which an employee was
holding open for him. “Oh, yes, yes,” he said.
“Excellent, excellent. Philaster Foss is such a dope. By
turning his Fossinator technology over to me in exchange for a pair
of chip controllers, he unknowingly gave me the power to rule the
entire world! Muwahaha! MUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”