Futurama

Fan Fiction

Married With Children, Part 1
By Ramon_51

This Fan Fiction follows on the heels of the Band of Brothers Crossover.

Apartment 1I, June 6, 3004, 2330.

Leela lay on her bed, trying vainly to fall asleep. Images of the past few days kept surging through her head. So much had happened!

The trip through time, the encounter with the men of Easy Company of the 506th, Fry getting wounded, and his proposal of marriage to her. How wonderful their first night together had been!

Mentally, she kicked herself for all the time she had wasted.

Now she found that she wanted Fry desperately, but he had suddenly shown another side she had never seen before. Imagine Fry turning a night together down!

He had said, “Leela, I love you. I want our wedding night to be really special. If we just keep playing ‘pelvic pinochle’ as the Professor would say, then it won’t seem as special.”

She felt tears welling in her eye when the videophone rang. She pulled on her robe and answered. When the video screen flashed on, she saw Fry’s face.

“Hey Leela, wassup?”

She crossed her arms across her chest, “Phil, it’s eleven thirty at night. Can’t you sleep?”

His face was pale, she observed with some concern, as he began to stammer in a confused manner, “Well…I…that is to say…”

Bender’s voice boomed from off camera, “Oh out with it, Meat Bag! You’ve been running around the apartment like a gerbil on amphetamines and driving me crazy! Your wounds have opened up, and you’re trailing blood like some wounded baboon!”

Leela grew alarmed at the mention of his wounds opening up. “Fry I’m coming to get you right now!” she said in a voice that allowed for no opposition.

Fry started to protest, “But I don’t want to…”

She cut him off, “Don’t worry, no snu-snu…Girl Scout’s honor.”

He looked relieved and managed a smile, “Okay, whatever you say Captain.”

Bender’s voice cut in again, “Good riddance, I say! You coffin stuffers have way too many body fluids for my liking. Oh for some peace and quiet…”

Fry looked exasperated, “I’ll wait for you out front of the apartment building! I love you.” Then he cut the videophone link.

Leela dressed quickly. She hurried to the Robot Arms, which was only three blocks away from her apartment. As she approached, she saw Fry sitting on the bench outside. He saw her approaching and stood up.

While still half a block away, she called out, “How are you feeling, Fry?”

“I’ve feel better, now that I see you.”

He walked towards her, obviously a bit unsteady on his feet. He passed under a street lamp. Then she saw the blood that had seeped down his left trouser leg, “My God, Fry! You’re really bleeding!”

He looked self consciously at his trouser leg, “I guess I am. Bender said the wound under my left shoulder blade is bleeding.”

Leela took him by the hand, leading him under the streetlamp. Ignoring his protests, she lifted his jacket and shirt. Sure enough, the bandage just under his left shoulder blade was soaked. A trickle of dark red venous blood ran down his back as well.

She raised her Wristamajigy and punched up the communication panel. She dialed 911. Within two rings, a female dispatcher answered, “Emergency dispatch, what is the location and nature of your emergency?”

“I’m in front of 123 West 123rd Street. My fiancée is bleeding badly.”

“Ma’am, is he conscious?”

“Yes,” Leela replied with concern in her voice, “but he’s very pale.”

“I’m dispatching an ambulance right now.”

Fry protested, “I don’t need an ambulance.”

Leela led Fry to a bench right in the front of the apartment, “Sit down Phil, please. Do this for me. I’m worried about you.”

When she put it that way, he couldn’t continue to protest.

Leela gave the dispatcher the rest of the information she needed for her report. The dispatcher offered to stay on the line, but Leela politely turned her down. Then she rang off.

They sat there for a few moments before the sound of the ambulance siren became audible in the distance. The sound increased until an ambulance came flying around the corner.

The ambulance pulled to a stop. The paramedic riding shotgun hopped out and looked at Leela, “Are you the lady who called?”

She nodded.

The paramedic came over and did a quick assessment of Fry. Pulse 90, blood pressure low, skin pale and clammy…damn! It was obvious to the paramedic from the condition of his other wounds that Fry had been injured a few days prior. The other wounds were healing, but something was causing the wound under the left scapula to bleed.

“Ma’am, we’re going to have to take him to the hospital. Do you want to ride with us?”

Leela nodded, “Thanks.”

He turned to Fry, “Sir, can you walk?”

“Sure.”

“Then let’s get you to the hospital so we can figure out what’s causing you to bleed.”

Leela and the paramedic helped Fry into the back of the ambulance. Once Fry was secured lying face down on the gurney, the paramedic hammered against the window between the cab and the patient area and shouted, “Hit it Joe!”

Joe hit it and the ambulance sped off for the hospital, siren wailing.

Taco Belleview Hospital, June 7, 0500.

Dr. Tarik walked into the surgical waiting room. A small man with olive complexion and thick black hair, he had a spring to his step that belied his sixty years. An experienced surgeon, Tarik hadn’t seen a wound like the one he had just worked on in a long time.

He looked at the purple haired Cyclops who was sleeping in an armchair. Before he could speak her eye opened, “Doctor, is he going to be okay?”

“He’s going to be fine. He’s just fortunate that you got him here when you did.”

Leela looked relieved, “When you rushed him off to surgery after looking at his X-ray, I didn’t know what to think.”

“I’m very sorry, my bedside manner is usually better.” He gave a tired smile, “That grenade fragment was cutting into his Cardiac Artery. A few more hours and he could have bled to death. Could you refresh my memory on how this young man got a grenade fragment in his back again?”

Slowly at first and then with increasing speed, Leela recounted the strange facts of their trip through time, including how Fry had been wounded shielding her.

Doctor Tarik nodded, “Remarkable. Those Stupid Ages medics did the best they could. There was no way to spot that fragment without an X-Ray. Well, he needs to rest for a day or two. No strenuous activity. I’ll give you a prescription for some antibiotics and pain killers as well as an excuse from work.”

“Thank you, doctor.”

He smiled, revealing what Leela felt were probably the best example of dental work she had ever seen, “No problem at all. He’s in recovery now. Would you like to see him?”

She stood up, “Yes, I would. Thank you, doctor.”

“Follow me, please.”

She followed the doctor out of the waiting room, walked down a corridor, turned right, and entered a small cubicle.

“Please put on a mask and gown, and then go through that door there. The recovery nurse will direct you to his cubicle.”

Before she could thank him, Doctor Tarik had hurried off to his next surgery.

Leela dressed and entered the recovery room. The nurse, an imposing fembot asked, “Who are you here to see?”

“Philip J. Fry.”

“Third cubicle down on the right.”

“Thank you.”

She walked down the corridor, hating the hospital sounds and smells. They always made her uncomfortable.

Holding her breath, she went into the cubicle. Fry lay on his stomach, but he wasn’t asleep. His eyes lit up as he saw Leela. His voice was raspy but strong, “Wassup, Leels? Did you get the number of that hovertruck that hit me?”

She smiled brightly and said, “No, but I’ve got your number. The Doctor says someone has to keep you off your feet for a few days.” The smile faded from her face, “That damned grenade fragment nearly killed you. I’m so glad you called me.”

“Me too,” he said with a weak smile, “I’ve heard being dead sucks.”

Leela reached out and began to stroke his neck, “Well, I won’t allow you to die. You’re not getting off of your promise to marry me that easily.”

Fry felt a feeling of warmth run through his body and soul as she spoke. He felt at peace with the universe.

Leela kissed him gently on the cheek, “I’m going to talk to the nurse and find out how soon I can take you home.”

“I’m all for that!”

Apartment 1I, June 8, 3004, 0600.

Fry awoke to the sound of a shower running. For a moment he was confused, because Bender didn’t take showers. “Did I leave the shower on?” he wondered. Then he opened his eyes and realized he was in Leela’s apartment.

His mouth felt dry, like it was full of cotton, and his left shoulder ached. Shifting slightly, he looked at the clock and saw it was six in the morning.

“I wonder what day it is?” he said softly to himself.

Hearing the sound of the water cease followed by the soft click of the shower door opening caused him to turn his head. He saw Leela emerge from a cloud of steam, toweling herself off with a huge, fluffy white towel. Fry felt his hormones kick in as he drank in the sight of Leela’s muscular, yet feminine form.

Leela slowly wrapped the towel around her body, “So sleepy head, how do you feel?”

Fry grinned, “Well rested but a little confused. What day is it?”

She smiled back, “It’s the eighth of June. You slept for almost 20 hours.”

He fell silent as he watched her wrap her long purple hair in another white towel. She was so orderly! Her every movement had a precision that he lacked. “How could she love such a slob?” he wondered, frowning involuntarily.

Seeing a frown cross his face, Leela spoke softly, “Fry are you okay?”

Putting a grin firmly back in place, Fry responded, “Yeah, I’m fine. But I really need to use the little boy’s room.”

She turned her head slightly so he wouldn’t see her smile, “Go ahead.”

“Leela, I can’t go if you’re around.”

At first, she was going to tease him a bit, but then she decided to let him off the hook. “Okay, I’ll go and fix breakfast. Can you make it to the bathroom on your own?”

He pushed himself up from the bed and stood up. Although he felt a little wobbly, he felt he could make it. “Sure Leela, no problem.”

She watched him until he was actually through the bathroom door before she went through the living room into the kitchen. Within ten minutes, she had finished preparing toast, egg beaters, and bacon. Things were going well; even her coffee machine was running normally…for once.

Just as she was ready to head for the bedroom, Fry walked out into the living room. He had pulled on his blue jeans but was barefoot and not wearing a shirt. He said cheerfully, “Boy that smells good! I’m really hungry.”

She motioned him to a seat at the small round dining table in the kitchen. There were only two chairs. Fry sat where he could look at Leela as she finished preparing their breakfast, “You know I could have just eaten some Admiral Crunch or Archduke Chocula. You didn’t have to go through all this trouble.”

“It’s no problem, Fry…really. I had to get something to eat anyway and I don’t like cold cereal. Besides, all that stuff will do is give you a sugar high.”

Fry gave his best boyish grin, “Speaking of sugar, how about a kiss before breakfast?”

Her lips pursed in a tight lipped smile, “I don’t suppose a little sugar will hurt.” She took a step forward, leaned over, and gave him a warm kiss on the lips. She lingered for just a second and then straightened up, “Breakfast will get cold if we don’t eat it soon.”

Without further conversation, she piled his plate high with four egg beaters, half a dozen strips of bacon, and two pieces of heavily buttered toast. Putting his plate before him she asked, “Fry, do you want Third and Third and Third in your coffee?”

He nodded his head, because his mouth was already crammed with a piece of toast. The smell and sight of food right under his nose had made him realize just how hungry he was.

“Yikes! Slow down, Fry! I promise not to try and snatch your food away from you.”

He mumbled an apology, even as he was taking a forkful of eggs. He slowed down, swallowed his food, and replied, “I’m sorry Leela. “ Then he resumed his assault on the pile of food on his plate.

Two identical plates later, Fry belched contentedly.

“Fry!” Leela’s eye narrowed in mild annoyance.

“Ooops! I’m sorry Leela.” He lowered his head with a hangdog look.

To his surprise, she walked over to him, put her arms around his neck, and hugged him, “It’s okay, Fry. I still love you.”

He was enjoying the feel of her arms encircling his neck and the feel of his head pressed against her body when the Videophone rang.

“I’ll get it,” Leela said as she stepped into the living room. She punched the video screen button as she lifted the receiver. To her surprise, the Professor was on the line.

Without any greeting, the Professor began, “I’m coming over to your apartment to discuss a very important matter. Is that dimwitted monkey Fry with you?”

Leela bristled at the insult. Her tone was frosty, “Fry is here, but he’s no monkey.”

The professor continued airily, “No matter, I’ll be over in ten minutes. Goodbye.”

The video screen went blank. Leela stood there for a moment and wondered, “What could be so important that the Professor would come to my apartment?” Whatever it was, she had a feeling it was trouble.

Apartment 1I, June 8, 3004, 0730.

The doorbell rang, followed by the sound of someone hammering on the door. Before Leela could reach the door, she heard the Professor shouting, “Open up, damn it! I haven’t got all day!”

She peeked through the peephole and, sure enough, there was the Professor. She opened the door. Without so much as a greeting, the Professor wandered in before she even had a chance to invite him in. He stopped just inside the apartment as Leela shut the door.

Leela turned to face the Professor. She looked at him with an expectant look. When he simply stood there, she asked with a trace of irritation in her voice, “Professor is there something you need to tell Fry and me?”

Looking confused, he replied, “Tell you? Oh my, no.”

Leela ground her teeth to keep from saying something she’d regret. Fry saw the look of anger flicker across her face. He rose from the couch and walked over to where they were standing as fast as he could, “Professor didn’t you just call us there is something you wanted to tell us?”

“Oh my, yes.”

Fry asked calmly. “So what do you want to tell us?”

“We should all sit down first.”

Fry and Leela sat on the couch, while the Professor sat in the lounge chair. Once again, a silence fell over them. To Fry, Leela began to look dangerously close to an explosion. Fry decided to break the silence before Leela started breaking things, “Professor would you please tell us what you need to tell us?”

“I’m hiring a new crew.”

Leela felt as though she had been punched in the stomach. They were going to lose their jobs just as they were planning their wedding! Fry felt concerned as well, but he swiftly followed up, “Why?”

“Planet Express just got a new client who will require a dedicated crew. Leela, Bender, and you will still handle the rest of the work.”

Fry peeked out of the corner of his eye at Leela. Thankfully, she seemed to be calming down. Leela’s brow furrowed in thought, “Professor, who would give Planet Express so much business that you’d have to hire a new crew?”

The DOOP Department of Defense wants us to haul turbidium ore from Pollux 6 to the Syria Planitia Naval Yards.

Fry blurted out, “What the heck is turbidium? It sounds dangerous.”

“Oh my, no it’s quite harmless…unless you subject it to sudden heat, impact, or electric shock.”

“Where are you going to get the new ship?”

“We, by which I mean you and the new crew, are going back to the space hive and retrieve the old Planet Express Ship.”

Both Fry and Leela burst out simultaneously, “What?”

He smiled, “It should be very simple. I have all the confidence in the Galaxy in you.” He rose and headed for the door. Leela rose, following him to the door. When he reached the door, he turned, “Leela, I’ll see you and Fry the day after tomorrow…when his doctor’s note runs out. Have a nice rest.”

Before she could think of a reply, the Professor left the apartment, muttering, “Poor doomed fools…”

Leela turned to face Fry who had risen from the couch, “Oh Fry, what are we going to do? I’ve never been afraid before, but we both almost died on the last trip to the hive.”

Fry smiled bravely, “As long as we don’t pick up any pets, I know you can outsmart any stupid old Space Bees.”

She shook her head, “For all our sakes, I hope so…I hope so.”

Apartment 1I, June 9, 3004, 0800.

Fry was sitting on the couch, watching the morning news. Leela came out of the bedroom, dressed in her usual outfit. As she emerged, Fry looked at her with an unmistakable look of love in his eyes. It had felt so good to snuggle next to her all night, he thought.

She returned a warm smile that sent a thrill through his body. He almost didn’t want to get better, knowing it meant moving back into his apartment. Not that Leela had mentioned it, it’s just that he felt as he got better, it would be harder to fight his desire for some wild snu-snu.

“Leela, when did Rabbi Liebgott say he’d be here?”

She glanced at the clock in the kitchen, “He said around eight.” As if on cue, there was a knock at the door.

Leela waved at Fry to stay seated, “I’ll get it.” She walked to the door, peeked through the peephole just to make sure, and opened the door. “Good morning, Rabbi Liebgott.”

Rabbi Joseph Liebgott nodded as he stepped through the doorway, “Good morning Leela…good morning Philip, are you ready to discuss your wedding plans?”

Leela motioned that Liebgott should take a seat in the lounge chair, “Yes, we are more than ready.”

Liebgott sat down with a sigh, “So, Philip…Leela told me you gave her a little medical scare?”

Fry nodded, “I’m sorry to say I did. It scared me just a little bit myself.”

“So, you think you are ready for the wedding?”

“Yes”

“Good. So tell me, what do you have in mind?”

Leela spoke first, “We want to hold a ceremony where my parents and relatives can attend, in the Church of the Alpha and Omega in the Mutant Village.”

Liebgott’s eyebrows rose nearly to his hairline, “Oy vey! I’ll set off gongs!” Then he laughed merrily. “Well, I think that I’ll be the first Rabbi to visit there in a while.” He appeared lost in thought for a moment, “No problem, my civil license is legal there. So the next question is when is the wedding?”

Fry smiled, “I’d like to have it tomorrow, but Leela says there are all kinds of girl stuff she has to do to get ready.”

To Fry’s surprise, Leela reached out and took his hand, “I’m glad you’re in a hurry.” She looked at Liebgott, “We were thinking the thirtieth of this month. Is that too soon?”

“No problem, do you have a time?”

Leela looked at Fry, then at Liebgott, “Fry and I wanted to do the ceremony at noon.”

“Wonderful! Do you have any special vows or anything you want read at the ceremony?”

Both Leela and Fry sat silently for a moment. Then Fry spoke, “We’ll come up with something.”

“Good. Is anyone helping you to coordinate the wedding?”

“Yes, my friend Amy Wong,” Leela replied.

Liebgott’s eyebrows rose again, “Is she related to the Mars Wongs?”

Leela nodded, “She’s their daughter.”

He looked impressed, “Next time we meet, can she be there? It would help us to make sure of all the details.”

“Sure,” Leela said.

Liebgott glanced at his watch, “Well, I’ve got to get going.” He stood while motioning to Leela and Fry, “Sit…sit…I’ll let myself out.” He shook both of their hands before striding to the door. He opened it, pausing for a second to smile at them. Then he was gone.

Leela put her arms around Fry’s neck and planted a warm kiss on his lips. It pleased and surprised him.

“Wow! What did I do to deserve that…I want to know so I can do it some more!”

Leela hugged Fry and whispered in his ear, “I just want to thank you for waiting around for me, that’s all.”

“As Rabbi Liebgott would say,” Fry said imitating Liebgott’s voice, “No problem!”

The Planet Express Conference Room, June 10, 3004, 0800.

The Planet Express Conference Table was nearly full when Fry and Leela entered the room, hand in hand. Bender was there, along with Zoidberg, Amy, Hermes, and the Professor. Fry and Leela’s normal seats were vacant.

Crammed around the table were several additional seats as well as a few folding chairs off to the side. They were occupied, Leela guessed, by the new crew. She did a quick count and came up with seven new people, all of whom appeared to be in the twenty-something range.

She and Fry went to their seats as if nothing unusual was going on.

As they sat down Hermes cleared his throat, “I’m glad to see you back, because now we can start making some real money. The DOOP Department of Defense has given us a contract to haul turbidium form Pollux 6 to the Syria Planitia Naval Yards. That means we need a new crew and a ship. You know where we are getting the new ship, but let me have these new employees introduce themselves.”

Hermes motioned to a dark haired, green eyed young woman seated to his immediate left. She stood up before she spoke, showing that she was a lean and muscular 5’ 7” tall. When she spoke, there was a decided Australian twang to her voice, “G’day! I’m Sarah Foster, the new ship’s pilot.” Then, without ceremony, she sat down.

Next to stand was a brown haired, dark eyed man. He was also lean and muscular, standing 5’ 8” with the compact frame of a wrestler. When he spoke, it was with a trace of a Middle Eastern accent, “Hello, my name is Tarek Hamza, but please call me XT. I will be the ship’s engineer. It is an honor to work here.” With a smile, he took his seat.

“They call me CosmicF,” said the next man to stand. “I know it sounds dumb, but I’m from Tweenis Twelve. I survived the Brain Spawn attack, but I can’t remember my real name. I just thought that ‘CosmicF’ sounded cool.” His brown hair was slightly disordered and his blue eyes sparkled when he spoke. He sat down. Then he sprang back up, “Oh and I’ll be the delivery specialist.”

“Delivery specialist,” Fry blurted out, “How come he gets called that instead of a delivery boy?”

The Professor looked annoyed and said, “Shut up Fry. Let these people introduce themselves!”

There was an uncomfortable silence before the woman next to CosmicF stood. She had dark hair and eyes, with an athletic build to her 5’ 6” frame. She was dressed in full Gothic style. “Hi, I’m Melissa Gold. I’ll be assisting Amy with repair work and helping Hermes as well.” She sat down.

Next to stand was a compact, 5’ 7”, muscular man with dark brown hair and eyes. He spoke with a slight English accent in a clipped, military sort of fashion. “My name is Bradley Tyrie. I will be serving as the flight leader for the fighters assigned to protect the turbidium shipments. My motto is ‘Failure is not an option.’” He motioned to the two dark haired young women seated nest to him, “These two ladies are the rest of the flight. I’ll let them introduce themselves.”

Both women stood together. They were obviously sisters, with the same compact frame and facial features. But they dressed very differently. Clad in bright colors, the one closest to Brad spoke first, “Hi, I’m Chelsea Guzom.”

“Hey, I’m Caitlyn Guzom,” said the second who was dressed in dark, punk-rock clothes.

Then they spoke together, “We’re sisters and we like flying fast, kicking butt, and takin’ names.” Smiling broadly, they sat down.

Hermes resumed speaking, “So, now that we have that out of the way, let’s get on to your first assignment. Professor, will you fill them in?”

The Professor, momentarily confused, said, “What? Fill who in?”

Rolling his eyes, Hermes said, “The mission to the Space Hive, you senile old goat!”

“Oh my, yes…the mission. You’ll all be taking the Planet Express ship to salvage the old Planet Express Ship. I’ve created some anti-gravity units that should enable you to pull it out of the honeycomb.” Then he mumbled, “If the Bees don’t get you first.”

Before anyone could speak, he waved dismissively at them all, “Off you go!” Then he stood and shuffled out of the room.

Leela looked across the table at Sarah, “Well it looks like we pilots have to figure out a way to come back from this alive.”

Sarah nodded, “Damn straight.”

Planet Express Ship Hangar, June 11 3004, 0900.

Leela and Sarah had agreed that they needed to practice using the anti-gravity units before they went on their mission. The only person with any experience was XT, so he wound up as the instructor. He had stayed up late the night before, fiddling with the units to make sure there were no screw ups…at least on his part.

He stood behind a table on which sat an anti-gravity unit and a model of the ship. The rest of the crew sat in folding chairs in front of him. Behind him was the PE Ship.

He lifted the anti-gravity unit, “This is not a standard anti-gravity unit. The Professor has designed it so that you must magnetically clamp it to the object you want to lift before you turn it on. Do you understand?”

Everyone nodded, so he continued, “Under no circumstances, press this blue button until you have a magnetic seal.”

CosmicF, who had been daydreaming about Amy, only heard “press the blue button,” which he did.

The unit emitted a humming sound before rocketing toward the ceiling with CosmicF holding on precariously. “A little help here?” he shouted as he soared upward. The unit stopped when it banged into the ceiling, almost causing CosmicF to lose his grip.

“Eshta!” XT exclaimed.

“Oh Lord,” Leela said before dropping her head into her hands.

Sarah gritted her teeth and grabbed a rocket pack. She strapped it on and flew up to CosmicF, whose arms were beginning to tire. She hissed at him, “What the bloody hell is wrong with you? She grabbed him by the arm, “Press the blue button again…and hold onto that unit!”

CosmicF hastened to comply, “Sorry Sarah, I don’t know what happened.”

Sarah just shook her head as she contemplated dropping him. She kept her cool, descending in silence.

XT, feeling sorry for his friend, said, “Thank you CosmicF for demonstrating why we must always attach the units before turning them on.” He then spent about thirty minutes explaining exactly where they had to attach the units to avoid damaging the old PE Ship.

“We must ease her out. If we do not, we could damage the ship beyond our ability to repair her.”

Once XT finished the training, Leela stood up. She looked the group over. She knew the capabilities and limitations of her friends, but she wasn’t sure about the newcomers. They seemed okay…except maybe for CosmicF…but they were going into a very dangerous situation.

“Okay crews, listen up. Our plan is simple. We’ll go back to the hive, use Bender to distract the Bees, remove the old PE Ship, and tow her home. Nothing could be easier. Just remember, Amy and XT are in charge of placing the anti-gravity units.”

She paused to look everyone in the face before continuing, “Fry and CosmicF will provide local security. If any Space Bee gets too curious…we’ll hit them with the sleeping gas the Professor whipped up.”

She looked right at Brad, “Brad…you’ll plant a charge in the main tunnel which we’ll blow if the Space Bees somehow decide to try and stop us. Caitlyn and Chelsea will remain outside in their fighters. If we destroy the tunnel, they’ll have to keep any Space Bees from entering the hive. Does anyone have any questions?”

CosmicF raised his hand, “What will you and Sarah be doing?”

Leela smiled, “She will be controlling security…by which I mean you and Fry…while I go aboard the old PE Ship to assess the damage. Are there any other questions?”

No one spoke.

Sarah finally broke the silence, “Okay, time to practice placing these units. The PE Ship is our Guinea Pig. Let’s go, people. We haven’t got all day.

Aboard The Planet Express Ship, June 12, 3004, 0800, Enroute to the Space Hive.

After the one minor incident, the planning for the mission had gone very smoothly. Impending death from the stingers of angry Space Bees had certainly been a spur to both concentration and cooperation. At Sarah’s insistence, they had practiced using the anti-gravity units until they could do it in their sleep. Now they were almost to the Hive.

Bender was prancing around in his Space Bee costume, annoying everyone with his constant waggling of his behind as he emitted loud buzzing sounds. He finally stepped over the line when he waggled his behind in Sarah’s face as she sat on the bridge’s couch.

In a lightning quick move she swept his feet from under him, sending him crashing to the deck. She jumped up with both her fists clenched, “You silly bugger! If you bother me any more, I’ll punt you into the middle of next week!”

Leela called from the pilot’s chair, “That’s enough! Bender, go down to the cargo hold and get ready. We’re only five minutes out from landing.”

Bender rose shakily from the floor, muttering curses under his breath. Sarah glared at him until he left the bridge. She turned to Leela, “How do you put up with him?”

“Bender’s Okay once you get to know him.” The Leela began to laugh, “He sure looked funny when his feet went out from under him.”

In spite of herself, Sarah began to laugh too. She shook her head, “He isn’t the first twit I’ve sent arse over tit.”

Leela smiled, “I don’t expect he’ll be the last.”

In response Sarah shrugged her shoulders, “Meh.”

Amy spoke up from her place behind the engineering panel, “I’ve got everything ready for the towing job.” She paused as a look of concern passed across her face, “Do you realize that the old PE Ship hasn’t had an overhaul or upgrade in five years? It’s going to take an awful lot of work to recommission her.”

Sarah smiled, “That’s what we get paid for.”

“Landing in one minute,” Leela announced. She reached up and punched a series of buttons on the communications panel above her seat, “All hands stand by for landing. No one exits the ship until we are assembled in the cargo bay. Brad, stay in your fighter until you see us exiting the ship.”

The speaker crackled Brad’s reply, a laconic, “WILCO.”

“Chelsea and Caitlyn, keep station. If we send out one of the distress codes, start zapping bees.”

Once again the speaker crackled as, in turn, the two women answered “WILCO.”

The landing was surprisingly easy. Leela set them down near the entrance, just as she had on that fateful day almost a year ago. Her palms began to sweat as she put the ship systems on standby. It ate up a lot of power, but she wanted to be able to leave quickly.

In a few moments, the entire crew assembled in the cargo bay. Clad in off-orange colored Extravehicular Activity (EVA) suits, they lowered the cargo bay ramp onto the surface of the hive. The color of the suits was designed to make them practically invisible to the Space Bees.

Bender exited first, dancing and twisting his body. The few guardian Space Bees that came to investigate flew away, apparently fooled by Bender. Bender waved his arms in an “All clear” signal.

First to step onto the spongy, slippery surface was Fry. He had his gas rifle at the ready. On his hip, he wore a back up pistol. Next came Sarah, armed with rifle and pistol as well. They looked about for a minute, waiting to see if they were noticed. To their relief, the Space Bees flew by in their never ending quest for space honey without sparing them a second glance.

Moving cautiously, Leela stepped out, followed by Amy and XT who were each pushing a hovercart. One was laden with antigravity units while the other held a spool of towing cable. They were joined by Brad, who had landed his fighter right next to the PE Ship.

Last to exit was CosmicF. He was armed with both rifle and pistol. He also had six throwing knives in a bandolier he had draped around his neck. When his feet hit the floor of the hive, the group moved out.

They reached the old PE Ship without incident. Brad broke off from the group and headed for the end of the entrance to the main hive. After that point, the tunnel branched off in several directions.

He unslung the satchel charge he had made from his shoulder. His years of experience with high explosives guided him in placing the charge where it would collapse the tunnel. He set the remote detonator, punching in a coded detonation sequence. Then he moved carefully back to the main group.

As he walked, he remembered during their planning back on Earth how he had asked, “Why don’t we just blow the tunnel, zap all the other bees, and leave without a problem?”

Leela had said, “We’re not on a bug hunt. We just want the ship. If we have to fight, we will but I’m not willing for us to kill anything unless we have to.”

When he arrived, XT and Amy were busily attaching the antigravity units to that portion of the ship still protruding from the floor of the hive. Much of the bridge and the forward portion of the ship were sunken in a gooey mass of jelly and beeswax.

Leela was with them, checking everything as they did it. Once they had placed all of the units they could Leela keyed her throat microphone, “Okay, everybody get ready, we’re going to activate the antigravity units.”

Sarah, Fry, CosmicF, and Brad all raised their weapons, tracking any Space Bee in the area.

Amy and XT began to cautiously activate the antigravity units, one at a time. The ship slowly began to pull free of the muck on the floor of the hive.

One guardian Space Bee noticed the movement however, and came to investigate. Before Bender could get into her field of vision and distract her, the guardian noticed three indistinct blobs moving against the background of the ship…blobs that were Leela, Amy, and XT.

The guardian sped toward them, wanting to make sure what they were before she sounded an alarm. Just as Sarah was ready to give the order to fire, she saw CosmicF sling his rifle and take a throwing knife in each hand. He threw both knives at once, severing the nerves between the Space Bee’s head and thorax.

Dead but still flying, the Space Bee impacted the wall of the hive, partially disappearing into the gooey mass.

Spurred on by the encounter, Amy and XT worked feverishly to attach the final units. Then they activated them as quickly as they could. With a slight jerk, the ship finally freed itself from the semi-tomb of the past five years and floated just above the floor.

Leela spoke into her microphone, “Okay, I’m going inside. Amy and XT, you come with me. We need to do a quick assessment before we tow this hulk out of here. Sarah, keep a sharp lookout.”

Breaking the seal on the starboard airlock door, Leela entered the dark interior of the old PE Ship. Only her helmet light illuminated the darkness, a darkness so profound it almost seemed to have a presence.

Just a few steps into the ship, she felt a chill run through her body and her hair seemed to stand on end. She swiveled her head around, looking for a possible explanation. All she saw was Amy and XT, who apparently had felt nothing.

Making their way to the bridge, they came upon the remains of the former captain and crew, as well as the remains of several defunct Space Bees. “Ugh,” Leela thought, “this bridge is going to need a thorough cleaning.”

A quick survey of the bridge and engine room showed no significant damage. XT said, “We can get her back in shape….no problem. Now let’s get the hell out of here. Eshta! This place gives me the creeps.”

Back outside, Leela ordered, “Let’s attach the tow cable and get out of here.”

Without further prompting, Amy and XT swiftly attached the tow cable. Then they joined the group on the floor of the hive.

Leela motioned for everyone to move out, which they did with alacrity. She keyed her microphone again, “When we start to tow this thing, I expect all hell to break loose. CosmicF, I want you to man the turret gun. Brad, I want you in your fighter outside of the hive before we start to tow. Concentrate on blasting us a clear path…we’ll follow you.”

She paused to give everyone a chance to ask questions. When none were forthcoming, she resumed, “Make sure we have all the hatches closed. I don’t want to end up like the old crew. Apparently they failed to close a hatch and the bees got in.”

A chorus of “Eww, and that is so Gross” from CosmicF and Fry echoed in her headset. She shook her head, “Come on, we’ve got a ship to fix.”

The group moved in silence the rest of the way to the PE Ship. Without any fanfare, Brad split off from the group and climbed into his fighter. Everyone else climbed onto the cargo bay elevator and rose slowly into the ship.

Aboard The Planet Express Ship, June 12, 3004, 0900, Escaping from the Space Hive.

Brad moved his fighter gingerly out of the entrance to the Space Hive. He observed that there were less than a dozen guardian Space Bees on patrol near the entrance, with the usual stream of traffic of workers bringing nectar to the hive or heading out to find more Space Flowers. He trained his sights on the closest guardian, ready to blast her to atoms.

He saw the Planet Express Ship start her engines and begin to move slowly out of the Hive Entrance. The slack went out of the tow cable and the old PE Ship began to move as well. That was when the guardians came to life.

Without warning, the guardian closest to the old PE Ship drove straight at into its side, denting the hull slightly. In the process the guardian lost its stinger, which snapped under the force of the blow.

Within seconds a dozen guardians swarmed the old PE Ship. They dented her, but failed to pierce the hull. Brad spoke calmly into his helmet microphone, “Hold your fire. As long as they go after an empty ship, there’s no sense in drawing their attention to us.”

Leela cut in on the ship-to-ship circuit, “I’m going to accelerate to top speed in five seconds. Five…four…three…two…one!” The engine of the Planet Express Ship burst into life and both ships leaped forward. The guardians now took notice and turned their attention to both ships.

“I knew this was too easy,” Chelsea muttered.

“G’luh!” Caitlyn responded immediately.

Brad snapped, “Put a lid on it you two! Concentrate on killing bees!”

The turret on the Planet Express Ship blazed into life. Guardian after guardian fell to the bursts of positron radiation.

At the same time, the three fighters rolled into the fray, cutting a swath for the two bigger ships through the swarm of guardians to open space. Every time a guardian tried to close with one of the nimble little fighters, one of the other two fighters would roar in on their tail. A burst of positron radiation and…bye-bye bee!

On the bridge of the Planet Express Ship, Fry stood next to Leela with his hand on her shoulder. He had originally been a little hurt when Leela had detailed CosmicF to man the turret. Leela had mollified him by squeezing his hand affectionately while whispering, “With you next to me, I won’t be afraid of all the Space Bees in the universe.”

Amy and Sarah were monitoring the engineering and astronavigation panels respectively. Both were absolutely focused on their tasks.

Bender had astounded everyone by agreeing to go with XT to monitor the engine room, “Look you organ sacks, I don’t want a repeat of the last time we were here.”

With that, he turned and headed for the engine room. He only paused at the hatchway to turn to XT, “Come on sausage link!”

XT frowned and said, “I am not a sausage! Sausage is pork and I don’t…”

Bender cut him off, “Okay, we get it. Just come on.”

XT followed Bender out, muttering and shaking his head.

Once under full power, the two ships had gradually pulled away from the guardians.

CosmicF called down from the turret, “Looks like we’re clear. The guardians have returned to the hive.”

Leela responded, “I’m not taking any chances. Once we’ve gone an hour without sighting any bees, we’ll stand down.”

CosmicF responded, “But I have to use the…you know…men’s room.”

Leela turned to Fry with a tight smile on her face, “Would you mind relieving CosmicF so he can relieve himself?”

Fry gave a short laugh, “Can do Captain!” He gave her a snappy salute and headed for the turret.

Leela keyed the ship-to-ship frequency, “Brad…Chelsea…Caitlyn…good job! We’re going to play it safe. We’ll bring your fighters into the cargo bay in an hour, as long as we don’t sight any bees.”

Brad responded with a laconic, “WILCO.”

“Now, to get us home,” Leela said to no one in particular.

Sarah nodded, “Right you are. “

Amy chimed in, “The faster, the better!”

Leela smiled to herself. They had done it! Now she could concentrate on planning the wedding…only eighteen days away.

The Flaming Slug, Little Neptune, New-New York June 16, 3004, 1800.

Amy and Leela sat at a table outside the Flaming Slug, a chic little restaurant that specialized in Neptunian cuisine. It had taken the both crews two solid days of hard work to put the old PE Ship into condition to land her on Earth. This was the first chance Leela and Amy had to sit down and discuss the details of the upcoming wedding.

“Spleesh, Leela you don’t give me much time to work with,” Amy said with a smile.

Leela grinned, “Well, I’m not getting any younger and the old biological clock is ticking.”

Amy’s eyebrows both flew up wards, almost merging with her hairline, “What…kids? Are you pregnant or something?”

“No,” Leela said. When she saw that Amy still had a look of disbelief on her face she added, “Seriously, no…I’m definitely not pregnant.”

“Okay.”

A tuxedo clad Neptunian waiter approached the table and asked, “Would you care for a menu?”

In response, both Leela and Amy nodded. He handed them the menus and said, “May I take your drink order?”

Amy spoke first, “A Neptunian Ice Ball, please.”

Leela considered getting one as well, but decided on something non-alcoholic, “Just a Soylent Cola for me.”

“Very good, ladies,” he said as he turned and entered the restaurant.

Amy sighed, “Are you still set on having the wedding on the 30th?”

“Yes, why do you ask?”

“Well, it’s good that you’re having it on a Saturday but some people might be enjoying an extended Freedom Day weekend.”

Her brow furrowed for a moment before she replied, “Amy, I believe that all of the people that really matter to Fry and me will be there.”

Amy nodded, “My next point is location for the ceremony. Wouldn’t you rather have it at Saint Rodman’s?”

Leela shook her head, “My parents and most of my family couldn’t come. No, Fry and I both want to have it where my parents can attend.”

“Where do you want to have the reception?”

“Fry and I will have a small reception at my parent’s house. The only people coming to that are Planet Express Employees and a few family.”

At that moment, the waiter returned with their drinks. He set them down, “What would you ladies care to order?”

Both ordered slug fritters, the house specialty. Amy ordered spicy while Leela stuck with the mild variety.

When the waiter departed Amy smiled, “So Leela, how’s your love life?”

To Amy’s surprise, Leela blushed furiously, “Let’s just change the subject, okay?”

“Spleesh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. Leela, I’m your friend, you can tell me.”

Leela continued to blush, “It’s just that I’ve never really needed anyone before. He’s gone back to live in his apartment until our wedding and,” she practically shouted the last few words, “it is driving me crazy!”

“Wow!”

“Last night I found myself reaching out to hold him, but he wasn’t there.” A single tear ran from her eye and slid off the end of her nose. “I was always so self-contained, but that’s gone.” Her voice became heated, “Oooh, I wish he’d just live with me. It is so hard to sleep by myself.” Then her voice switched to a wistful tone, “We wouldn’t even have to snu-snu, I just want to hear him singing some dopey song or see his grin…” she trailed off.

Both women sat in silence until the food came. Leela poked at her fritters with very little interest. Amy looked at her friend, feeling closer to her than she ever had. Leela, the unshakable rock of Planet Express had suddenly become a woman in love.

“Leela, do you have one of Fry’s shirts?”

“What?”

“Well, I have one of Kif’s shirts. Whenever I get lonely, I sleep with it next to me. It smells like him, so I go to sleep more easily.”

“How did you get one of his shirts?”

Amy laughed, “I just offered to do his laundry. Men hate doing laundry. So I’ve always been able to keep one ‘comfort’ shirt on the side.”

Momentarily lost in thought, Leela muttered, “He definitely has plenty of laundry that needs doing.” She looked straight at Amy with an affectionate smile, “You certainly are a good friend, Amy Wong.”

Shrugging her shoulders, Amy returned the smile, “Thanks Leela. I think of you as the big sister that I never had. So, let’s finish planning this wedding. We still have to pick out your trousseau from Alien Overlord and Taylor this evening.”

Leela nodded, “We also have to stop and pick up some laundry detergent.”

Both women laughed the laugh of new found sisters, knowing that whatever the future held, they had each other.

The Robot Arms Apartments, Apartment 00100100 June 16, 3004, 2100 (9 p.m.).

Bender was hectoring Fry over the upcoming wedding, which wasn’t unusual. What was unusual was the way Fry was standing up for himself.

“Bender, you remember Angeline…don’t you?”

“What the hell does that have to do with you getting married?”

“Everything! If you hadn’t tried to get cute, you probably would have married her.”

Bender scowled, “So what? I wouldn’t have run out on my best friend.”

Fry could feel his anger rising. Then the ludicrous nature of their argument struck him and he began to laugh, “Listen to us…we sound like an old Robosexual couple arguing who gets the pet poodle.”

Bender tried to maintain his anger, but it was impossible. He began to laugh as well. Fry began to mince around the apartment in a burlesque fashion. This led to fresh howls of laughter from Bender.

Finally Bender put up his hands in a gesture of surrender, “Okay meat bag, I give up. It’s just going to be kinda lonely without you.”

Before Fry could reply, there was a knock at the apartment door. Bender turned toward the door, “I wonder who that could be?” He opened the door and came face-to-face with Leela. He stepped back, motioning her in. “Hey Big Boots, what brings you here? Fry isn’t strong enough for…”

Bender never finished his sentence because Fry interrupted, “Leela! Come on in. Wassup?”

The frown that had been on her face vanished at the sound of Fry’s voice, “I’m on my way home to do my laundry. I thought I could pick your stuff up and throw it in with mine.”

“Sure! Thanks!”

Bender spoke up, “So, could you do a few things for me?”

She looked surprised, “Bender, you don’t even wear clothes…do you?”

“Well, I like to wear jams around the apartment in the evening.”

She smiled as she nodded her head, “Sure, why not?”

She stepped into Fry’s portion of the apartment. Although Fry was keeping it very straight…by his standards…Leela’s hands were itching to bring order to what she saw as chaos. Her natural orderliness filled her with a powerful urge to begin cleaning up.

She thought, “Relax, Leela, relax. You’ll have a whole lifetime to help him get tidier.”

Instead, she kept a smile on her face, “Can you give me a pillowcase to carry your stuff?”

Looking embarrassed as he opened his clothes closet, Fry said, “Well…it might take a couple of pillow cases.”

Twenty minutes later Leela had all of his dirty clothes crammed into five pillow cases. Fry was left with one set of clothes, now hung neatly on a hanger. She picked up the cases and said, “I’ve go to be going. Fry you can come by and pick up a couple sets tomorrow. I’ll do the rest over the weekend.”

Fry reached out to take three of the pillow cases, “I’ll walk you home.”

“That’s okay, Fry.”

“No, I’d be the world’s biggest jerk if I let you do my laundry and carry all of it!”

“Okay, let’s go. Bye Bender! I’ll see you at work Monday.”

“See you, skin tube!”

They walked in silence down the corridor to the elevator. When they stepped in the elevator, Fry impulsively set down his pillow cases, wrapped a surprised Leela in his arms, and gave her a passionate kiss.

Leela dropped her pillow cases as well, returning his kiss with equal fervor. She dug her fingers into his back, wanting to become one with him.

Abruptly a distinctly robotic voice spoke, “Get a room, you two!”

Surprised, they both stepped apart and noticed for the first time that the elevator had a robot operator.

Leela hung her head and blushed. Fry recovered his composure first, “Ground floor, please.”

The robot winked at Fry, “Yes sir!”

Once they left the elevator, they both began to laugh at the same time. Fry said, “We were so busted! I felt like a teenager caught by your parents while making out.”

Leela suddenly remembered, “We’re supposed to go to my parents tomorrow for dinner. Do you still want to go?”

“Sure, Leela! I want to ask your Dad for your hand in marriage and everything.”

She smiled inwardly at the thought, “Okay, what time will you pick me up?”

“Is around six good for you?”

She nodded. They walked the rest of the way to Leela’s apartment in silence. When they reached the door, Leela turned to Fry and gave him a tender kiss.

“Wow! I need to carry laundry more often!”

“Do you want to come in?”

Fry struggled within himself. He knew that if he went into her apartment, he wouldn’t be able to resist his urges. Regretfully, he answered, “No, I’d better not.”

Leela felt conflicting emotions as well. For Fry to make such a sacrifice made him all the more irresistible, “Okay, then get out of here before I assault your virtue.” She gave him a playful push.

“I love you Leela.”

“I love you too, Phil. I’ll be waiting.”

The Mutant Village, beneath New-New York June 17, 3004, 1800 (6 p.m.).

“Morris! Do you have to shed when we have company coming? What is this, the zoo?” Munda asked as she swept the couch furiously with her broom.

“I’m sorry honey. It’s just that I shed when I’m nervous. You know that.”

Munda stopped sweeping. She reached out with her left tentacle and gently patted Morris’ shoulder, “I’m sorry, dear. I guess we’re both nervous.”

Morris stood up, “I’ll go get the dustpan.” He ambled off into the kitchen. Munda stood and watched him, remembering why she had fallen in love with him so many years ago. After a few seconds, he walked back into the room, dustpan in hand.

As they cleaned the floor together, both were thinking about Fry and Leela’s mysterious visit. Leela had refused to tell them why they were having dinner. Munda suspected Leela was pregnant. Morris thought that they were going to start living together. Neither suspected what was about to come.

They finished cleaning and sat side-by-side on their threadbare sofa. They were both silent for a full ten minutes, just holding hands. Then Morris sighed, “I just hope that they aren’t planning on living together. He’ll just dump her you know.”

Munda shook her head, “Leela is just too hot blooded. I’m sure she is pregnant…and by a surface person. Who would have believed it?”

Before Morris could reply, there was a knock at the door. Morris sprang up, “I’ll get it.” He opened the door, smiling as he saw his baby girl. He tried to avoid frowning when he saw Fry. He liked him, really.

“So come in already.”

Leela hugged her father tightly, “Hi, daddy.”

He returned the hug, “Hi, sweetie.”

Fry extended his hand, “Hello sir, nice evening isn’t it.”

Morris laughed as he shook Fry’s hand, “It’s evening? How can you tell? We’re in a sewer!” He patted Fry on the shoulder and said, “Come on inside.”

Fry laughed nervously, nodding his head in agreement.

Munda stood up as Leela approached the sofa, “So, how is my baby?”

Leela almost rolled her eye, but she caught herself. Nothing was going to ruin this evening! She smiled, “I’m just great mom! Can we go into the kitchen? I have to ask you a girlie type question.”

Munda’s eye widened, “Okay, if that’s what you want. Morris, you and Fry wait here. And no eavesdropping!”

Both Morris and Fry nodded in agreement as the two ladies went into the kitchen. Leela pulled her mother aside, laid her finger on her lips, and whispered, “Just listen, mom.”

As soon as they were out of sight, Fry took a deep breath. “Sir, I wanted to ask you something.”

“Is it a girlie type question?” Morris asked playfully.

“Uh…no…it’s about a girl. I mean…it’s about Leela. Leela and I, I mean. It’s about our future.”

Morris braced himself as he thought, “Oh Lord, they are going to live together.” He waited for Fry to speak. When Fry remained silent, Morris prodded him with, “And…?”

“Oh…yes sir. Well, I just may as well say it.” Fry looked at his feet nervously and mumbled something Morris didn’t catch.

“Fry, your shoes heard you. I didn’t catch it. What did you say?”

Fry swallowed audibly and said in a shaky voice, “Leela and I are getting married. We both wanted your blessing.”

Morris slapped his own forehead and roared with laughter, “Oy! What a relief! I thought you were living together!”

“No sir. I love Leela and want to be with her forever. She’s too special just to live with.”

Fry nearly jumped out of his skin when both Munda and Leela gave a high pitched squeal and began to hug one another. Both men stared, open-mouthed as mother and daughter shared their joy.

When their cascade of emotion had subsided, Munda smiled at Morris, “So answer the poor boy, already!”

Morris put his right arm around Fry’s shoulder, “You have our blessing. So, when’s the wedding?”

Fry looked Morris in the face, “Sunday, June 30th sir. Leela and I want to get married in the Church down here, so everybody can come.”

“So soon?”

Fry shrugged, “We’ve known each other for four years.” He lowered his voice, “I don’t want to give her time to change her mind.”

Morris nodded, “Gotcha!”

Munda and Leela both said, “What?”

Simultaneously both men answered with an innocent air, “Nothing!”

New-New York Police Department Headquarters’, Commissioner’s Office June 18, 0700.

Ramon Hidalgo sat with his elbows on his desk, rubbing his throbbing temples. It had been another hellacious night. The morning newspapers, the newscasts, and the subliminal broadcasts were full of the news.

He opened the drawer to his liquor cabinet, then closed it. “Damn,” he thought, “I can’t hit the sauce this early.” A wry grin flashed across his face at the thought of the conniption old Poopenmeyer would have if he came in and saw him drinking.

Not that Poopenmeyer gave a rat’s rip about anything, other than reelection. Ramon thought about taking a “shortie,” then dismissed the thought from his mind. It wasn’t that he really worried about Poopenmeyer catching him drinking. “Hell,” he muttered, “That cabron doesn’t come in until at nine.

Ramon always came in at six in the morning, staying late every day. Many were the nights that he slept in the office.

Last night he had been at the door to his office ready to go out to dinner when his intercom had buzzed. He had groped his way back to the desk in his darkened office to hit the switch. When he answered, the voice of Detective Captain Shannon “Froggy” LeBlanc had come through, “Nya, Commish! We’ve got a bad one.”

If Froggy called it bad, he knew it was bad. He sat down behind his desk. “Dígame mi hija,” he had said in Spanish.

“Well boss, some mutant apparently just blew himself up in Central Station. He left a note that demanded freedom for all mutants. We’ve got twelve dead and over a hundred injured.”

“Santa Maria!”

“You aren’t kidding, Commish. The freaking press is going ape over this one. I had to arrest two of the knotheads to keep them from contaminating the crime scene.”

Ramon chuckled in spite of himself, “Who’s the crime scene tech?”

“Wigglesworth…who else?”

He nodded, even though they were using a voice only link, “Okay. Come by the office at 0700. Send me situation reports when you’ve got something significant.”

“Sure.”

Dios te beniga, mi hija.”

“You too, Commish.”

When the intercom had gone dead, he had poured himself a tumbler of scotch. He emptied it quickly, pouring another. As he raised it to his lips, he was conscious of a presence in the room. Before he could reach for his pistol, a voice issued from the darkness, “Getting jumpy in your old age?”

Ramon relaxed, “Big Red, amigo, I was getting ready to send you a message. I assume you know the basics?”

“Only what I hear on the news.”

“I’m afraid that’s all I have at the moment as well. I assume we’ll continue to use the electronic dead drop system to communicate?”

“I believe so.”

“Good. Would you care for a drink?”

“Ramon, you know I’m dry when I work. If you don’t mind, I’ll let myself out.”

Ramon shrugged. “Buena suerte amigo” he said to the now-empty darkness.

That was last night, he looked at his watch. It was 7:15 already. Making a decision, he hit a switch on his desk intercom, "Mrs. Marple, please call Robbery-Homicide and tell them to send me Froggy...right now."A voice answered from the speaker, "Right away, Commish."Ramon smiled at Mrs. Marple's use of "Commish." Aside from Froggy, she was the only one who got away with calling him that. He settled down, doing paperwork until there was a knock at the door. He looked up to see Mrs. Marple. "Detective Captain LeBlanc is here, Commish." Ramon said, "Okay, send her in." When she came in, he tried to look stern, but couldn’t. Instead he smiled, “Sleep well?” "Like a baby…I cried half the night and wet the bed.”Once he recovered from his fit of laughter, Ramon looked at his favourite detective. As usual, her long black hair was a bit untidy. And she kept wearing those damned baggy shirts. He mentally made a note to talk to her about it…later.

“Froggy, what’s the scoop?”

“Commish, the initial forensics are confusing. I’m sure Wigglesworth will sort them out. The bottom line is that there’s something screwy about this one.”

Ramon sat upright in his chair, “How?”

“I don’t know, boss. The mutant who blew himself up had no priors. The other odd thing was the explosive. It was high grade military stuff…turbidium based. You just don’t pick that stuff up at the hardware store.”

Ramon nodded his head, “As of now, you’re off Robbery-Homicide duty. I’m putting you in charge of a Task Force to run this one to ground. Pick your team. If anyone questions your picks, refer them to me, got it?”

“Right, Commish.”

“Any questions?”

“No, Commish.”

“Then hop to it.”

Planet Express Conference Room, June 18, 0730.

When Sarah entered the conference room, she saw that the room had been reconfigured. Instead of the single circular table, a “U” shaped table sat in its place. She counted a total of fifteen seats, each with a name card in front of it.

She walked over to the table and examined the cards. There were cards at the head of the table for the Professor, Amy, Hermes, Zoidberg, and Melissa. Along the left side of the table were places for Sarah, XT, Cosmic F, Brad, Caitlyn, and Chelsea. The right side of the table had seats for Leela, Fry, and Bender. One seat had a name card that read “Consultant”. The last seat had no card in front of it at all.

Sarah looked up when she heard a sound. Leela had entered the room, carrying an electronic tablet, “Good morning, Sarah. I see you’re here early.”

“G’day Leela, I just like to stay on top of things. We’ve got a lot to do, so I needed some planning time.”

“How’s the old ship?”

Sarah paused for a few seconds before answering, “We worked most of the weekend to get her spaceworthy. XT is one hell of an engineer. Melissa has lots of talent in that arena as well. CosmicF is…well…CosmicF.”

Leela smiled, “He reminds me of Fry when I first met him. Go easy on him. He’ll improve, I think.”

Sarah looked doubtful, “He can be so darned smart at times and the next second…Oooh!”

Leela chuckled, “Yup, that’s Fry a few years back.”

“What changed him?”

Leela’s brow furrowed, “A lot of things I guess, but it all came together in the hedgerows of Normandy.”

Sarah looked puzzled and Leela said, “It’s a long story. I’ll tell you later.”

Just then Amy came into the room, “Hey! Did you hear the news about the mutant who blew himself up at Central Station last night? He killed a dozen people and injured another hundred or so.”

Both of the other women gasped. Leela spoke first, “Lord! Why would anyone do that?”

Amy shrugged, “I don’t know. But Mayor Poopenmeyer was on the tube saying that the New-New York Police Department was going to start enforcing the anti-mutant edicts of 2207 if this keeps up.”

Leela was forming an answer when Hermes strolled in. When he saw that only the three women were present he cried, “Great Boa of Western Samoa! We’ve got a priority mission this mornin’. Are you da’ only one here?”

Sarah shot back, “Hold on there mate, don’t get your knickers in a wad! What in blue blazes are you yammering about?”

“Didn’t da’ Professor call you last night?”

All three women shook their heads.

Hermes head dropped forward as he shook his head, “That senile old honkie. We’ve got an urgent order from DOOP to haul two shiploads of turbidium as soon as possible. That means both ships fly outta’ here dis’ mornin’.”

As Hermes was speaking, Melissa came into the room, followed closely by Brad, Chelsea, and Caitlyn.

Hermes looked at the clock. It was a quarter to eight. In an impatient tone he growled, “Where in Jah’s dreadlocks are de’ rest of de’ people?”

Fry, Bender, CosmicF, and XT came in as a group. Hermes shouted, “Where da’ hell is Zoidberg?”

Bender shot back, “How the hell should I know? It’s not my week to watch him. Did you have a fight with LaBarbara last night or something?”

“No! Just shut up and take your seats.”

Zoidberg scuttled in, “So was somebody looking for me?”

“I was, you windy barnacle! Now take your seat while I go find da’ Professor.”

Hermes left the conference room for a moment, returning with the Professor and a person no one at the table had seen before.

“Good news, everyone!” the Professor announced, “We have a security consultant who will help us meet DOOP Department of Defense Security standards for our very lucrative contract hauling turbidium.” He gestured toward the tall, red haired stranger.

“Hello,” the stranger said in a calm, level voice, “My name is James Martindale. I’ve been asked to provide you with a bit of advice on how to secure turbidium. I’m looking forward to working with all of you.” Then he walked to the seat next to Bender and sat down.

Once James took his seat Hermes began, “Okay people! We’ve got to haul two loads of turbidium from Pollux 6 to the Syria Planitia Naval Yards on Mars. Both Planet Express Ships will take part in the mission, along with all three fighters. We can’t afford to screw dis’ up! Our fee will allow us to give everyone a thousand dollar bonus for dis’ trip, so let’s look sharp.”

Everyone looked satisfied, but Bender blurted out, “This has got to be a really dangerous mission or why would DOOP pay us that sort of money?”

The Professor reacted angrily, “Shut up Bender! “ Then his tone moderated, “You all have only an hour to get ready, so…shoo…shoo.” Then the Professor stood up abruptly and shuffled out of the room, shaking his head and muttering, “The poor devils…”

Hermes rolled his eyes, “You heard da’ Professor. Meeting’s over. Let’s get da’ ships ready to go.”

Buddies