Married With Childsren, part 6
100 East 123rd
Street, Apartment 1I, July 3, 3004, 0915 (9:15 a.m.)
clustered around Amy’s HDTV watching the news about the
terrorist attack near the 5th District Courthouse. Fry,
Leela and Sally had come over to visit with Amy just before the
attack had taken place. To their surprise, Inez was there as well.
‘Good Morning New-New York’ had been
playing on Amy’s TV when Fry, Leela, and Sally entered. Amy was
about to turn it off when one of the announcers breathlessly
announced the terrorist attack. They had sat, mesmerized, waiting
for definite news.
From somewhere off
camera someone handed the announcer, a dark haired woman in her early
thirties, a bulletin. As she scanned it, her eyes widened in shock
and disbelief. Clearing her throat, she said, “We interrupt
this newscast for a special bulletin. Mayor C. Randall Poopenmeyer
has declared a state of emergency. He has announced that a special
unit of Model X-02 Peace Enforcement Robots will begin the removal of
all Mutants from above the surface followed by a strict enforcement
of the quarantine measures of the Mutant Edicts. The mayor is
scheduled to make a speech in five minutes to further explain his
position. Stay tuned…”
They all sat in
stunned silence as the announcer droned on. Finally Inez piped up,
“Crazy Gwei Lo! They always doing stupid stuff.”
In a lame attempt
to break the tension, Inez turned to Amy, “You know why there
are so many Gwei Lo?”
Amy shook her head.
“Because somebody got to buy retail!”
Both Amy and Leela laughed politely, while Fry
said, “I don’t get it.”
Before Inez could
explain the joke to Fry, the announcer said, “We take you now
live to the Mayor’s office.” The scene switched to the
familiar backdrop of the Mayor’s office, with Poopenmeyer
seated behind his desk. Something about him seemed odd…almost
as if he was excessively tired or distracted. When he read from the
statement on his desk, it was in a slow, measured monotone.
“A gang of
mutant terrorists aided by human sympathizers have once again
attacked New-New York. This latest attack near the 5th
District Courthouse has brought the death toll over the past month to
over five hundred. As a result, I am declaring martial law. Special
Action Squads of X-02 Peace Enforcer Robots have already begun raids
across the City to root out the mutant threat from among us. Anyone
who aids or abets these traitors will be treated as one of them. Any
mutants who resist arrest will be shot. All mutants will return to
the sewers at once. A strict quarantine of the sewers will be
enforced. That is all.”
The scene changed back to the announcer, whose
shock was written all over her face. “We have just heard Mayor
C. Randall Poopenmeyer…”
Amy hit the mute button, “Leela, do you
think they’ll come looking for you?”
Leela looked uncertain, “I don’t know
Amy. But I think Fry, Sally and I need to leave New-New York as soon
Amy looked concerned, “Where will you go?”
Fry seemed to be thinking. Then his face
brightened as he spoke up, “Kershaw invited us down to his
place in Charleston.”
surprised, “When did that happen?”
us at the wedding. We were at the bar and he told me that we could
drop in any time for any reason at all.”
Leela looked doubtful for a moment before her face
took on a look of grim resolution, “Let’s pack a few
things and head south. But I’m not sure our Hover Harley will
make it, there are bound to be roadblocks.”
Inez broke in, “I
get you out of here…not problem. No roadblock gonna stop my
Hovercaddy. And for sure no cop car gonna catch it.”
They conferred for a few moments before deciding
to meet on the roof parking garage in five minutes. As they headed
out the door, Sally asked Fry, “Why does the Mayor hate
Briefly, Fry struggled with an answer. Then he
remembered that Sally was only six years old. He looked her full in
the face and answered sincerely, “Because C. Randal Poopenmeyer
is a big dummy.”
Nimbus, High Earth Orbit, July 3, 0917 (9:17 a.m.)
Mulberry Sellers was standing watch when Zapp Brannigan stepped out
of the turbo lift onto the bridge. They had been waiting in
synchronous orbit with Manhattan below them for thirty minutes.
Sellers had wondered, “Why don’t we
just go back to the South Port Naval Station and just dock?”
However, he wasn’t one to question Captain Brannigan…or
any other superior…so he had simply parked the Nimbus and
waited for further orders.
“Lieutenant Sellers,” Brannigan asked,
“are we at the right coordinates?”
Sir! We are directly above Manhattan as per your orders, sir!”
Zapp gave a
malicious grin, “Lieutenant Sellers, I just received an
Ultra-top Secret communication from the DOOP High Command. The Cargo
Ship Reliant has been hijacked by mutant terrorists and turned into a
weapon of mass destruction. She is carrying a load of turbidium that
the terrorists plan to use to destroy Manhattan.”
“Oh my goodness!” Sellers exclaimed.
“Our job, Lieutenant, is to destroy the
Reliant before she can hit Manhattan.”
“At her present course and speed, she should
be within range of our laser in 43 minutes. As soon as she is within
range, open fire. Is that clear?”
Zapp grinned again, “When we succeed
Lieutenant, we will have saved millions of DOOP citizens from certain
death. And, we will have earned a medal or two. Keep a close watch!
I’m going up to the observation deck to watch the fun.”
He stepped into the turbo lift, laughing wickedly. Before the doors
closed he said, “Shoot to kill…is that understood?”
“Aye-aye Sir! We shoot to kill.”
100 East 123rd
Street, Apartment, the Rooftop Garage, July 3, 3004, 9:20 (9:20 a.m.)
When Fry, Leela, and Sally arrived on the rooftop,
Inez was already at the wheel of the Hovercaddy. Amy was standing by
the open trunk, her hand on the trunk lid. Fry tossed their bags
into the trunk while Leela and Sally climbed into the back seat.
After Amy slammed the trunk closed, Fry got into the back, sitting
behind Inez. Amy climbed into the front seat.
Inez twisted around to look at Fry, Leela, and
Sally, “You all need to keep low until we get out of city. I
put blankets in back that you can get under.”
Fry and Leela nodded in agreement. Leela spoke
up, “Inez, are you sure that you can get past roadblocks
without any trouble?”
Inez laughed, “You not worry, Leo pay for me
to go to three different evasive driving courses. He worry that
someone try to kidnap me, so he want me to be able to drive like
hell.” She gave a wicked grin as she patted the console, “This
car got special features that I’m just dying to try out.”
Her grin changed to a look of confidence, “Besides, Leo got
enough money so we can bribe our way out of anything.”
She turned around
in her seat and backed out of the parking spot. Keeping it legal,
Inez eased the Hovercaddy into traffic. She headed west on 123rd
Street toward the Avenue of the Americas, keeping with traffic yet
allowing herself room to maneuver.
She needed it – a lot sooner than she had
expected. Before they had gotten to the Avenue of the Americas, a
cop car pulled across the road forming a roadblock. Both Amy and
Inez fired off a simultaneous barrage of Cantonese curses when they
realized that they would have to run a roadblock this early in the
game. Inez followed this with a short burst of Cantonese to Amy.
Amy looked into the back, “Get under the
blankets and please keep quiet. Mom told me that she’s going
to try and bluff her way through.”
pulled up to the roadblock, which was manned by two human cops and a
pair of X-02 Peace Enforcer Robots. A human and an X-02 approached
Inez on the driver’s side, while the other pair kept the car
covered with drawn weapons.
“Your papers, please,” the X-02 said
in a mechanical monotone.
Inez handed them over without comment.
The human cop took the papers from the X-02 and
examined them closely. “Ma’am, would you step out of the
In a polite tone, Inez asked, “Why…what
“Ma’am, we’re searching for
mutants. Would you…”
Before he could finish Inez shot back in a shrill
voice, “You dumb flatfoot! You know who I am? I am Inez
Wong…wife of Leo Wong. I not get out of car! You move
roadblock now or my husband make it plenty miserable for you!”
The human cop spoke up nervously, “Ma’am,
I’m sorry but I have my orders.”
The X-02 said, “This conversation is over.
Get out of the car or we will fire.”
No sooner did the
X-02 say “fire” than Inez snatched her papers back from
the surprised human cop and slammed down on the accelerator while
simultaneously hitting the lift jets. She shot over and beyond the
roadblock before the humans could react. Both X-02’s got off a
few shots, but their lasers merely bounced off the heavily armored
For the next few moments Inez showed the NNYPD
what a professionally trained driver could do on the streets of
Inez threaded expertly through the heavy downtown
traffic like she was on a Sunday drive in the country.
Leela, and Sally were tossed around like popcorn in the back seat.
Fry peeked over the front seat before ducking back down under the
blankets. Leela asked, “How’s she doing?”
Fry merely replied, “Better than I could.”
For some reason
this struck Leela as unbearably funny and she began to laugh. Sally,
unsure of why Leela was laughing, decided to join in.
The cop cars
tailing the Hovercaddy were trying to close the distance or box her
in, but Inez eluded them every time. But they finally seemed to have
her boxed in.
vehicle is headed toward the East River,” one of the pursuing
cars radioed. “There’s no hover bridge there. We’ve
So they thought.
The human cops gaped in surprise as Inez roared to
the end of the street…and kept on going.
In the back seat, Leela had peeked out from under
the blanket as she heard the engine accelerate. She saw the “River
Ahead” warning signs flash by as the Hovercaddy flew past them.
“Oh my God,” Leela thought, “We’re all going
Just as the Hovercaddy reached the peak of its arc
above the river, Inez deftly punched a series of buttons. Within
less than two seconds, the Hovercaddy was converted into a
Disappearing beneath the surface of the East
River, the Hovercaddy seemed lost to its pursuers. “Better
call for a dive team,” one of the pursuit units radioed to the
dispatcher. “That Hovercaddy is probably stuck in the muddy
was piloting the “sunken” Hovercaddy toward the Atlantic
Ocean. In a loud voice she said, “You round eyes can come out
from under blanket now. Next stop…Charleston!”
Resilient, July 3, 0945 (9:45 a.m.)
Brad paused to wipe the sweat from his face. It
had taken a lot longer than he expected to figure out the wiring on
the booby-trap. Even now he wasn’t 100% certain he had it
right. Still, time was running out and he had to make a decision.
Sarah stood by, watching intently as Brad laid out
his tools, “So mate, you think you’ve got it figured
A smile flickered across Brad’s face, “Near
as damn it, but we’ll know in a few moments.”
“Should I tell XT to get ready to disengage
the two control units?”
might set off the booby-trap.” He paused as if considering
something. Then he shook his head, “Tell XT to monitor the
current in the A-6 power circuit. When I’ve succeeded in
pulling this thing’s teeth, the power should fluctuate
momentarily. Then he can disengage the control units.”
Sarah nodded before heading for the bridge to fill
XT in on the situation.
work,” Brad thought. He worked slowly, deliberately as he
snipped through wires and disabled circuits. All the while, the
green light that signified that the booby trap was armed glared at
him like an evil eye.
Each time he completed an action, he paused to
wipe sweat from his face and to take a few deep breaths. “Damn,”
he muttered, “it’s been a while.”
The green light continued to glare mockingly at
him as if to say, “I can still kill you.”
When he took his
next short break, he found his thoughts going wandering to the last
time he had seen Katrina. She had dropped him off at the Planet
Express building after he had spent a wonderful night at her place.
Brad had given her
a respectable peck on the cheek as the hovercar slid to a halt.
Before he could turn away, Katrina had surprised him by taking his
head in her hands and kissing him fiercely. In an emotion choked
voice she had said, “Ya vas lyobloo” as their lips
“What’s this?” Brad had said in
a tone of surprise. “I love you too. Why so emotional,
Her eyes had a far-away look in them as she
answered, “You are going into great danger…beware my
At the time he had laughed it off, reassuring
Katrina that this was a simple milk run…nothing to get worked
up about. She had refused to be reassured and kept insisting that he
was going into great danger.
Now as he prepared
to cut the last of two wires, he realized that Katrina had been
right. But how did she know?
“Time to figure that out after I finish with
this thing,” he said quietly.
Only one wire remained.
The green light flickered, then went out.
Brad breathed a
sigh of relief. As he stood up to stretch his cramped limbs, XT’s
voice came over the intercom, “Allah hu Akbar! We have
control of the ship again my brother!”
“Then I suggest we get to Syria Planitia
Naval Yards as quickly as we can.” Brad replied, “This
turbidium isn’t getting any more stable sitting in our hold.”
Sarah cut in, “We’re on our way, flat
out like a lizard drinking!”
Johnson’s, I-952, July 3, 1000 (10:15 a.m.)
Inez steered the
Hovercaddy out of the water as soon as she hit the New Jersey shore.
They streaked south toward Charleston along the coastal hoverway,
passing swiftly through New Jersey and across Delaware. As they
traveled Inez spoke on her cell phone in rapid-fire Cantonese.
Amy turned to Fry
and Leela and silently mouthed the words, “That’s my
Inez closed her phone with a resounding ‘snap.’
With a trace of glee in her voice she announced, “It all gonna
be fixed soon. Leo said no problem.”
Leela leaned forward, “Thank you, Inez. Fry
and I will always be in your debt.”
Inez smiled, “Not
to worry, it make me feel good to see my driving training really
Amy had laughed
first, followed by everyone else in the car. The car became quiet
again. Soon after, they passed over the Chesapeake Bay hoverbridge.
Once they crossed
the bridge Sally spoke up, “Mommy…I really have to go.”
“Can’t you hold it for a little
while?” Leela had asked.
try Mommy.” Sally responded doubtfully.
Five minutes passed before Sally began to squirm,
“I’m sorry Mommy, but I really, really have to go.”
Leela asked, “Inez, is it safe for us to
Inez smiled, “Sure, I not want to get my
They pulled into
the Howeird Johnson’s Restaurant and Emporium just inside the
North Carolina line. The interior was what one would expect of a
Howeird Johnson’s. One side held the restaurant, while the
other sold trinkets and had a variety of amusements for both children
After the initial
rush to the bathroom, Inez had announced, “We stay for a while
for some coffee. Let little girl play games and stretch legs.”
Sally turned to Fry and said, “Daddy can you
win me a stuffed animal?”
Fry nodded, “I’ll try.”
Hand-in-hand they strolled over to the claw
Leela, Inez and Amy sat down at a booth where they
ordered drinks. Leela and Inez both ordered Neptunian Blue Moon
coffee, while Amy ordered a Soylent Cola. They sat quietly, watching
Fry pit his skill against the claw machine.
later, Fry had failed to nab a single animal. Amy said to Inez and
Leela while sliding from the booth, “Excuse me, but I think my
expert hands are needed elsewhere.”
Amy joined Fry and Sally. Soon the stuffed
animals were dropping into the chute at the rate of one per quarter.
Leela broke the
silence, “Inez…I appreciate all you have done…but
why did you put yourself at risk for us?”
Inez paused for a
long moment before she spoke. At first Leela had trouble
understanding what she said, “Why do I help you? When Leo and
I first married, we not have much money. We work hard, but many
people not like us because we are Chinese. Then Leo inherit Wong
family fortune when his Uncle and whole family die in hovercar
“Oh, that’s terrible!”
Inez nodded, “All
of sudden, we have all kind of friends. Lotsa money attract lotsa
leeches.” Her voice quavered slightly, “Everyone always
asking us for something…except you and Fry.”
“That must be terrible.”
“Yes. You have been a good friend to my
Amy. You set good example, get married and start family right away.
Maybe she and green squishy man do the same.”
“I’m sure Amy and Kif will get
Inez looked doubtful, “Maybe. I wanted to
have lots of kids, but even with fertility drugs, Leo and I only have
Amy.” Tears formed in her eyes, “But I sometimes doubt I
ever see grandchildren.”
Leela reached out impulsively and took Inez’
hand, “Don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll have a
whole houseful of grandsons and granddaughters.”
“I sure hope so. Leo and I are both the
last of our line. If Amy not have children, both our families will
had some children with Amy.”
“Yeah, yeah, but they got DNA from you…not
“Well, according to Kif…”
Kif say Amy his marshmallow or something like that so babies are
hers. Sorry, I not buying that.”
Leela laughed when Inez said ‘marshmallow’
instead of ‘Smizmar,’ “I’m sure they will
have children. But we have to get Kif cleared of the charges against
“Leo already working on that.” Inez
smiled, “Soon Kif can come out of hiding. I know my Leo. He
big pain sometimes, but he always get the job done.”
Amy, Fry, and
Sally approached the table, laughing and joking. Each was carrying
an armload of stuffed animals.
Leela’s hand, “We talk more later, Leela. You help me to
remember what ancient Chinese proverb say,
If you want
happiness for an hour – take a nap. If you want happiness
for a day – go fishing. If you want happiness for a month –
get married. If you want happiness for a year – inherit a
fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime – help
Before Leela could
respond, Sally called out, “Mommy! Look at all the stuffed
animals Aunt Amy won for me! Do you want some of them?”
Inez spoke up as she rose from the booth, “We
divide up loot later. Now we head to Charleston.”
Aboard the Nimbus, High Earth Orbit, July 3,
When the Resilient did not appear on time, Zapp
Brannigan went to a communications panel, “Bridge, this is the
Captain. Have you picked up the incoming terrorist vessel yet?”
Lieutenant Sellers responded, “Negative
Captain, we have detected no incoming vessels other than regularly
“Start scanning along the line from Earth to
Pollux 6. Look for traces of any recent explosions.”
“Just do it!” Zapp snapped. He had a
gnawing feeling that something was wrong. He paced the observation
deck for several minutes, chewing on his lower lip.
“Yes, Sellers, what is it?”
“Sir, there are no anomalies indicating an
explosion within a 15 degree arc of the line you indicated.”
Zapp thought for a
moment, “Sellers, scan the approaches to the Syria Planitia
Naval Yard. Are there any inbound freighters or civilian cargo
After a brief
silence, Sellers voice came over the intercom, “Sir, there are
four ships approaching the Yard. The first is the Rose of Altair out
of Cunaxa; the second is the Icarus out of Luna City; the third is
the Resilient out of…”
Zapp cut Sellers off, “The Resilient!
What’s our time to close to effective weapons range?”
After a quick check of his readout Sellers
responded, “At maximum speed…twenty minutes.”
“Make it so, Lieutenant!”
“Sir, they will have docked by then.”
“What?” Zapp almost screamed, “How
did you miss them?”
“Sir, I followed your orders to the…”
“Shut up, you incompetent moron!”
Zapp’s mind raced. Then he decided on a course of action.
Time to start damage control! “Lieutenant, come to the
observation deck at once!”
Sellers raced to
the observation deck, afraid of Zapp’s wrath if he took one
second more than necessary. He scrambled up the ladder and stood at
attention before his Captain.
Before Sellers could salute, Zapp spoke in
measured tones, “Lieutenant, I want you to personally prepare
my shuttlecraft for departure. I want no logs kept of my departure
or return, is that clear?”
“Yes sir, no logs.”
“Good, if anyone asks, I have the Rigellian
Flu and am confined to my cabin. Is that clear?”
“That is all Sellers. I want to be gone in
“Aye-aye, sir!” Sellers said as he
slid down the ladder to ready the shuttle.
Alone on the observation deck Zapp muttered, “Yes.
It’s time for a little damage control.”
Dockmaster’s Office, Syria Planitia Naval
Yards, July 3, 1045 hours
Sarah strode into
the dockmaster’s office with Brad, CosmicF and XT trailing in
her wake. Her face reflected her determination to find out why the
Resilient had been hijacked.
The dockmaster, a middle-aged, balding Naval
Captain took one look at Sarah and thought, “Here’s a
lady who means business.”
Sarah stopped before the dockmaster’s desk,
which sat in the middle of the sparsely furnished office. As the
dockmaster drew breath to speak, Sarah pre-empted him, “Captain,
I’d like to report a hijacking.”
Alarmed, the dockmaster rose to his feet, “A
hijacking? Where? Who?”
“My ship was hijacked about two parsecs from
here by some DOOP Navy types. They tried to turn her into a flying
bomb. She’s loaded with turbidium, you see.”
The dockmaster looked stunned. “Go on,”
was all he managed to say.
In as few words as
possible, Sarah related the story of their hijacking, escape from
their bonds, and regaining control of the Resilient. Then she handed
him a data disk with the registry numbers of the craft that had
the dockmaster said as he sat down behind his desk. “One
moment,” he added as he began tapping on the keyboard of his
Several moments later he looked at Sarah in
obvious confusion, “Miss, I don’t doubt your word…but
there is no record of a Major Wellington of the DOOP Marines.”
“No Major Wellington,” Sarah said with
evident surprise, “then who in the bloody hell intercepted us?”
“I’ve not a clue.”
the registry numbers of the mongrels who hijacked us?”
sorry to say but their registry numbers are from decommissioned
craft. Also, they don’t match the types of craft you
XT spoke up, “These are very deep waters,
Sarah. It seems that we were hijacked by a very cunning group of
Brad added, “I’d like to get them in
my sights for a nanosecond.”
CosmicF nodded in agreement.
Sarah face seemed
frozen in an angry mask, “Cunning they may be, but I swear that
I’ll find them if it takes ten years.” Her voice shook
with anger, “No one takes my ship and gets away with
interrupted, “I’ll help you in any way that I can, but
first we have to unload your turbidium. The docks are closed until
we’ve got your cargo clear. Once we’re done, I’ll
give you a computer terminal with access to DOOPNAV net and let you
investigate to your heart’s content.”
Sarah turned to Brad, CosmicF and XT, “Well…we’ll
never get to heaven if we don’t die. That turbidium won’t
Without further discussion everyone headed for the
Resilient to begin the delicate task of unloading the highly volatile
Outside Charleston, South Carolina, July 3, 1100 (11 a.m.)
Kershaw family estate had not been as easy as they had thought. It
was slightly north-northeast of Charleston, on the sea. There were
no high-speed roads to it, only narrow country lanes lined with
ancient Live Oak and Weeping Willow trees. Purple wisteria and
Spanish Moss draped themselves across the limbs that projected over
Many times it had
seemed like they were driving through a living tunnel as the branches
from the trees lining the roads actually blocked out direct sunlight.
They had rolled the windows down as the Hovercaddy crept along the
narrow road so they could smell the fragrance of the many wildflowers
that carpeted the occasional fields they would cross.
Amy broke the
silence in the car by exclaiming as she pointed, “Look Mom,
there’s the sign to The Oaks.”
Everyone looked in
the direction Amy had pointed. Sure enough, there was a large,
whitewashed sign with black letters proclaiming,
J.B., C.T., &
R.V. Kershaw, Proprietors
Inez turned right
and headed up the narrow road that led in the direction of the sea.
Five miles later, they rounded a bend and saw The Oaks. Surrounded
by green fields, it was a large white three storied mansion house,
complete with porches on all three levels and massive columns in the
Off to one side, a
cluster of what seemed to be smaller dwellings and outbuildings
stood. They were also whitewashed, almost glaringly so. In a field
near one of the outbuildings stood a corral which held a dozen or so
horses and ponies of various sizes.
Sally called out excitedly from the rear seat,
“Mommy! Look at the horses!” Smiling, Sally turned to
Leela and said, “Mommy, can I go riding?”
“We’ll see, sweetie,” Leela
temporized. She loved animals, but for some reason just couldn’t
bring herself to really trust horses. She’d ridden a few
times, but there was something about horses…she just couldn’t
put her finger on it.
As they drew
closer to the mansion house, they could see two men sitting in
rocking chairs on the ground floor porch. Both had what appeared to
be some sort of long barreled weapon across their laps.
Inez turned slightly to look at Leela, “You
sure they expecting us?”
“I spoke to one of J.B.’s brothers –
Richard – when we stopped in Charleston for directions. I’m
sure it’s okay,” she said with more confidence than she
Inez stopped the
Hovercaddy directly in front of the stairs leading onto the porch.
Both men rose and approached the vehicle after first leaning their
weapons against the wall. It was easy to see that both were related
to J.B. and to each other.
The first to approach was obviously the older of
the two. He wore a white suit with a black bow-tie. He had a huge
white handlebar moustache that matched his snowy hair. Behind him
and slightly to the left walked a somewhat younger clean-shaven man
who had pepper and salt hair. He also wore a white linen suit
without a bow-tie.
Everyone piled out
of the car except for Leela and Sally. Leela was actually changing
Sally’s dress to make her more ‘presentable.’
Inez and Fry were closest to the approaching men.
Fry stuck out his hand, “Hi, I’m Fry. Joe Kershaw said
we could come and visit?”
The older man
shook Fry’s Hand. In a deep South Carolina accent he said, “I
am pleased to make you acquaintance, sir. J.B. advised us of your
pending arrival. My name is Charles Tazewell Kershaw. Please call
me Taz.” He gestured to the other man, “This is my baby
brother, “Richard Varner Kershaw. We call him Varney.”
Varney and Fry shook hands.
“A pleasure, sir,” Varney said.
Amy had stepped
around the hood of the Hovercaddy to stand at her mother’s
side. Taz bowed slightly in their direction, “Forgive my
manners, but I have neglected you lovely ladies. Allow me to
Amy blurted out,
“I heard, you’re Taz and that’s Varney. This is my
mom Inez Wong and I’m Amy.”
“Well, well you certainly do come to the point.” He shook
hands with both women before saying, “But is there not another
lady in your party?”
At that moment Leela emerged from the car. She
stepped around with Sally in tow. Smiling, she stuck out her hand,
“Hi! I’m Leela Fry and this is our daughter, Sally.”
Taz and Varney’s
reaction when they caught sight of Leela surprised everyone. Both
men seemed stunned. Varney visibly turned pale.
Taz recovered his
composure first, “A very real pleasure, Ma’am.” He
extended his hand, “Welcome to The Oaks. Please treat it as
your home.” Taz looked down at Sally, “You are most
welcome too, Miss Sally.”
Leela’s hand as well, “A pleasure.” Varney kneeled
to look Sally in the face. He gazed at her searchingly for a few
seconds before he spoke, “So Miss Sally, do you like horses?”
“Oh, I love horses!” she exclaimed.
you’ve settled in, perhaps your mother will allow you to visit
our horse barn?” Varney glanced in Leela’s direction.
Taz abruptly called out, “Pompey…Prometheus,
come and welcome our guests.”
Two huge Irish Wolfhounds bounded out from beneath
the porch where they had lain, unseen. Their sudden appearance made
Fry, Amy, and Inez nervous.
The two dogs
ignored everyone in favor of Leela and Sally, who they approached
with their massive tails wagging. Fry was ready to step between them
and his wife and daughter when Varney said, “Don’t worry
Fry, their tails are wagging.”
Both dogs sniffed at Leela and Sally for a moment
before they began to lick their hands.
like both of you,” Taz ventured.
Fry responded, “I’m glad of that.”
Taz nodded, “Let me get our butler Zeeves to
show you your rooms.”
Inez spoke up,
“Amy and I are just gonna freshen up. Then we heading for
Savannah Spaceport. My Leo say we need to catch first thing smoking
Amy whined, “Mom, I want to stay.”
Inez shook her head vigorously, “No. Your
father say he can fix everything when we get home to Mars. Then he
help clear up stuff for your green squishy man, too.”
Amy quietly responded, “Okay Mom.”
More than anything, she wanted to see Kif again.
Taz pulled a fob
from his pocket and pressed the large red button in its center. In a
few seconds a Butlerbot came onto the porch. In a melodious English
accent it asked, “You rang, sir?”
Zeeves.” He indicated Leela, Fry and Sally, “Please see
our guests to their rooms. These ladies,” he gestured toward
Amy and Inez, “will not be staying. However, they require a
place to freshen up.”
sir. Ladies….Sir, please follow me.” Everyone save Taz
and Varney headed across the porch and into the house.
Once the porch was clear, Taz turned to Varney, “I
suppose you noticed?”
“Indeed I did.”
“Most remarkable that J.B. didn’t
“You know J.B.”
“Indeed I do. Well, let’s go make our
Both men turned and entered the house in silence.
Warehouse in New Jersey, July 3, 1200 (Noon)
The three men
stood silently in the dark interior of the rat infested building,
waiting for their boss. Together the men were the top echelon of the
terrorist organization that Zapp Brannigan had put together.
Zapp had chosen
each man carefully. They were hard working, loyal, and secretive.
All hated mutants. More importantly, they carried Zapp’s
orders to the rest of the organization without ever mentioning his
name. No one in the rank-and-file of the organization knew that Zapp
existed. Without the three, there was no hard link between Zapp and
the terrorist acts that had taken place over the past few weeks.
None of them were
much to look at. In fact, that was their strength. Each man could
blend into a crowd without much effort. If Sarah had been there, she
would have recognized the man in the center as “Major
Wellington.” The man on his right was slightly heavyset, with
very dark hair. The man on the left was slightly taller and more
slender. All wore dark, conservative clothing.
The men were conversing in low tones when Zapp’s
voice issued from the darkness, “So, gentlemen! I bet you are
wondering why I called you all here.”
‘Wellington’ spoke up first, “It
had crossed my mind.”
The others chimed in with, “Yeah.”
Zapp stepped from
the darkness into the shadows, “Because of unforeseen events,
my plan is spiraling out of control. It seems that the Resilient got
away. I wanted to see what we can do to salvage this mess.”
All three men
relaxed a bit. If he wanted to salvage things, he needed them as his
agents. It meant they wouldn’t meet the fate of some of the
others who had failed Zapp.
They talked for over an hour without coming up
with any definite plans. Zapp had seemed unconcerned about the lack
of progress. Instead, Zapp had said, “We’ll let things
cool down a bit. We’ll meet in a month. I want everyone in
the organization to lie low until after our next meeting…understood?”
Everyone nodded in agreement.
Then Zapp produced a flask from his pocket. He
grinned, “A toast to seal our success…to our inevitable
victory!” He took a loud, gulping drink before passing it on
to the next man.
Each man took a swig in turn. Zapp took the flask
and put it in his pocket. Still smiling, he turned on his heel. As
he departed into the darkness he called over his shoulder,
“Remember…lie low for at least a month!”
Once in the
darkness, Zapp reached into his pocket. He pulled out a pill,
swallowing it immediately. As he entered his hovercar in the alley,
he allowed himself a chuckle. Within a few hours, all three of his
henchmen would collapse mysteriously from massive heart attacks. He
had used Decapodian poison…absolutely unfamiliar to Earth
toxicologists. He had taken the only measure certain to keep his
secret safe. They deserved to die…the blundering fools!
As his hovercar sped to the area where he had
parked his shuttle craft, Zapp said out loud, “Time for some
Within minutes he was back on the way to the
Nimbus, plotting his next attempt.
Outside Charleston, South Carolina, July 3, 1300 (1 p.m.)
Leela, Fry, and
Sally stood outside the mansion house, waving at the receding form of
Inez’s Hovercaddy. When the car disappeared in the distance,
Leela turned to Fry, “Well, what do we do next?”
Fry shrugged his shoulders, “I dunno. I
guess we wait to hear from J.B.”
Sally piped up, “We could go look at the
house like Mr. Taz wanted us to.”
Leela turned to Fry, “What do you think?”
Fry stood with his hand on his chin, “I
Sally took his hand and looked up at him, “Please,
Fry grinned, “Sure Pumpkin, we can go.”
They walked toward
the house together with Sally in the lead, followed by Fry and Leela.
Pompey and Prometheus, the two huge Irish Wolfhounds, frisked along
beside Sally. Leela put her hand on Fry’s shoulder
affectionately, “You like being called Daddy, don’t you?”
Fry reached out and took Leela’s hand. “I
like it almost as much as I enjoy being called your husband.”
That’s so sweet,” she said followed by a kiss on the
cheek. “That’s a deposit for tonight,” she said
with a wink.
When they entered
the foyer of the house a few moments later, Zeeves approached them,
“Sir, Madame, would you be so kind as to accompany me to the
drawing room? Mr. Tazewell is waiting to show you the mansion.”
Leela smiled, “Lead the way Zeeves. Come on
Sally, let’s go see the house.”
The drawing room stood just off of the foyer. It
was a large, airy room that was tastefully furnished in earth tones.
A huge fireplace dominated the room. Taz was seated in a large
overstuffed armchair close to it.
with Fry, Leela, and Sally close in his wake. The dogs were following
Sally along as well. Zeeves halted the cavalcade a few paces away,
“Your guests, Sir.”
“Thank you, Zeeves. That will be all.”
Zeeves left wordlessly.
Taz smiled as he
stood up, “Let me show you the ancestral home of the
Kershaw’s.” Taz stepped forward, extending his hand,
“Will you take my hand Miss Sally?”
Sally took his hand with a smile, “Thank you
Leela grinned. Sally was already becoming a
Southern Belle and they had only been in Charleston for a few hours!
through the house, with Taz acting as their tour guide. It didn’t
take long for Leela to realize that the Kershaws had been a very
wealthy family for a very long time. The house seemed full of
artifacts, almost like a museum.
Leela asked, “J.B. said both Varney and you are widowers. Do
you live here all alone?”
Taz smiled sadly,
“No my dear, we are not alone. We have our memories to keep us
company.” Then he flashed a quick smile, “And every now
and then, we have charming visitors such as you all.”
Fry gave a short laugh, “I’ve been
called a lot of things, but I believe this is a first for charming.”
After a tour of
the ground floor, the spent thirty minutes touring the second floor
that was mostly sleeping quarters. That done, they ascended to the
third floor. Emerging from the stairwell, they found themselves in a
gallery that was lined from floor to ceilings with paintings.
Taz took them down the long rows, explaining which
ones were likenesses of some of the more famous or in one case,
infamous members of the family.
Sally seemed excited, “So one of your
ancestors was a Space Pirate?”
Taz chuckled, “I’m
afraid so, Miss Sally. You’ll have to get Varney to tell you
the story. It has all sorts of curses, double crosses, and ghosts.
However, I’m not much of a storyteller.”
Sally’s eyes widened at the mention of the
word ‘ghosts’ followed by an audible ‘gulp.’
Sensing her distress, both Prometheus and Pompey began to lick her
“Quit it you guys!” Sally protested.
When the two dogs
were sure Sally was OK, the party continued on to the end of the
gallery, where the most recent portraits hung. Sally pointed, “Why
does that one picture have curtains covering it?”
“It is a
portrait of my dear departed mother, Eula Mae Barnwell. She died not
long after Varney turned three.” His face took on a look of
sadness, “We keep it covered and only uncover it on special
Fry, Leela and Sally were all curious to see the
portrait, but instead Leela asked, “What kind of special
Taz looked enigmatically at Leela, “I think
now is such a time.” He reached up for the pull cord. A
sudden yank, and the portrait was revealed in all it’s glory.
For a moment Fry,
Leela and Sally stood there speechless. Fry’s jaw looked as if
it would hit the floor. Leela’s eye seemed ready to pop out.
The silence was profound. Then Sally blurted out, “Mommy, she
looks just like you…with two eyes!”
Outside Charleston, South Carolina, July 3, 1300 (3 p.m.)
seated near the drawing room fireplace, except for Sally. She was
out on the front lawn, playing with Prometheus and Pompey. Her
occasional squeal of delight penetrated into the room, causing the
adults to pause in their conversation and smile.
Fry sat next to Leela on a couch, while Varney and
Taz sat opposite them in overstuffed arm chairs. From the look on
her face, it was obvious that Leela was a bit skeptical.
“So let me get this straight.” Leela
said with a look of attention, “You believe that I’m
somehow related to the Kershaw family?”
Fry spoke up,
“Gosh Leela, I don’t see how you can doubt it. Look at
that picture! Eula matches you nearly perfectly.”
“I know Fry,
but I know so little about my family. I mean, I’ve never even
met my Grandmother. She’s a bit of a recluse. I mean, she
didn’t even come to our wedding.”
Varney leaned forward, “Have you ever seen a
picture of her?”
“No. My mother was going to prepare a family
album for me, but I haven’t gotten it yet.”
Varney stood and
walked over to a cabinet that stood opposite the fireplace. He
reached inside, pulling out a photograph. With a slight smile on his
lips, he handed it to Leela, “Do you recognize this person?”
“Goodness, it looks like Sally! Who is it?”
“That lady is my brother J.B.’s lost
love, Flora. She came here from New-New York years ago. My brother
fell in love with her on sight.”
remember,” Leela exclaimed, “J.B. told me about it!”
Her brow furrowed, “But why didn’t he recognize the
resemblance when he met Sally at our wedding?”
Taz spoke up, “Our brother is a brilliant
lawyer, but he sometimes overlooks the obvious.”
Fry shook his head, “Boy, I thought I was
clueless. Even I can see the resemblance.”
“Stop putting yourself down, Fry.”
Leela reached out, giving Fry’s hand an
affectionate squeeze. Then she turned her attention to the
photograph. After a moment of deliberation, Leela said, “As
soon as this mutant scare blows over, I’ve got a lot of
questions for my family. But it seems that I’m at least part
Varney smiled, “Welcome to the family my
Resilient, Enroute to Earth, July 3, 1900 (7 p.m.)
Sarah paced the
deck of the bridge. Her beautiful face was frozen in a mask of
concentration as her mind focused on recent events. XT and CosmicF
had seen that look before, so they busied themselves with other
The process of
unloading the turbidium at Syria Planitia had gone smoothly, she
thought with some satisfaction. Once that was finished, she had
searched the DOOP Department of Defense databases for any information
on the craft that had hijacked the Resilient.
to the Nimbus. Although there was no ‘smoking gun’,
Sarah knew in her heart-of-hearts that Zapp Brannigan lay at the
bottom of the whole mess.
A smile flickered across her lips as she thought
of bringing this mystery to James. James…what was she going
to do about him? Could their long-distance relationship work? Sarah
knew that she loved being with him, but she wasn’t sure if she
could give up her life as a Space Captain for a more domestic role.
“Take a deep
breath,” she muttered. After all, it was a bit premature to be
thinking of permanent relationships. James hadn’t proposed
anything permanent. In fact, he might just be content with the way
Forcing her mind
back to the present, Sarah barked out, “XT is that bloody
XT smiled at Sarah’s slur on Brannigan’s
sexuality, “Negative. I’ve been tracking the Nimbus
closely. They departed the solar system over an hour ago.”
Sarah stiffened, “On what course?”
“They were headed on an azimuth for the
Galaxy of Terror.”
he want there?” she wondered out loud. Conscious that XT was
awaiting further instructions, Sarah smiled, “Good work. Keep
an eye peeled for that bugger. He’s up to no good, I’ll
With Brannigan out
of the way for a short while, Sarah paused to consider the recent
events on Earth and how they could be tied in to their hijacking. To
be sure, it was a mystery of the first water.
Prohibition or no,
Sarah was determined to visit her friends. “If Leela hasn’t
gotten out of town, she’ll be held up with her rellies
for certain,” Sarah thought. “Silly
arsed prejudiced buggers,” she muttered aloud as she thought
about the New-New York authorities and their attitude toward mutants.
I’ve got a photo album to deliver,” she breathed with a
Outside Charleston, South Carolina, July 4, 0100 (1 a.m.)
The roar of the hand grenade reverberated in
Leela’s ears. When the smoke and dust began to settle, she
stood up while shaking Fry off her back.
“What’s wrong with you,
Fry? Why did you knock me down? What was that noise?”
She looked at Fry lying on the
ground. He looked like he was asleep.
“Come on Fry, get up.”
Leela bent over and shook him. She tried to get him on his feet, but
she lost her grip and he flipped over onto his face. It was then
that she saw the blood.
She tried to scream “Medic!”
but no sound would issue from her throat.
Then she sat bolt upright in the bed.
Bathed in sweat, she was trembling like a leaf. “A
nightmare,” she thought, “it was all a nightmare.”
Glancing to her side, Leela could see
Fry sprawled carelessly on top of the sheets. The moonlight streaming
in through the window illuminated his features. He was snoring
lightly, with a smile on his lips.
Swinging her legs off the side of the
bed, Leela planted her feet gingerly on the floor. The dream had
been so real! She couldn’t go back to sleep, but she didn’t
want to awaken Fry with her tossing and turning. So, she pulled on
her green silk robe and went to check on Sally.
A few steps brought her to the door
to Sally’s room, which was on the same side of the hall as Fry
and her room. She opened the door very cautiously. The sight that
met her eye made her feel a bit more at ease.
Sally was lying loose limbed in the
very center of the huge canopied bed. She
was dwarfed by the forms of Prometheus and Pompey, who flanked her on
either side. One of the hounds…she could not tell which one
in the pale moonlight…lifted it’s massive head to gaze
imperturbably in Leela’s direction. It was as if he were
saying, “Your young one is safe with me. Go and rest.”
Leela withdrew silently. For a
moment, she stood indecisive in the hallway. Then she turned and
headed upstairs to the gallery. The stairway she took emerged right
next to the portrait she wanted to see.
She was surprised that the curtains
were drawn back and the light above the picture was on, illuminating
Eula Mae Barnwell’s features. Leela stood there for some time,
simply gazing at the picture. “No doubt about it,” Leela
thought, “we are related in some manner.” The likeness
was uncanny. Except for the two eyes, it was like looking in a
“What kind of person were you?”
she whispered to the silence. “What sort of woman can leave
such a gap in their family’s lives that they cannot bear to be
reminded of their loss?”
Receiving no answer from the silence,
Leela fell silent as well. She wondered how everyone would react if
anything happened to her. Like a mob of crows attacking an owl,
thoughts of her own death fluttered about her mind. Then, just as
suddenly, they were gone.
“Fry loves me,” she found
herself thinking, “and others love me too.” She thought
about her family, both those who were her blood relations and those
who had become like family…the whole crazy, dysfunctional,
wonderful Planet Express crowd.
Reaching up and giving Eula a pat on
the cheek, Leela turned on her heel and headed back downstairs. She
padded silently into the bedroom, where Fry lay as she had left him.
Shedding her robe, Leela crawled carefully into bed.
She placed her head gently on Fry’s
chest. He stirred slightly but did not awaken. She lay there
quietly, comforted by the touch of the man she loved. Soon the
rhythmic beating of his heart lulled her to sleep.
Police Department Headquarters’, Commissioner’s Office
Conference Room July 4, 1230 (12:30 p.m.)
Ramon sat at the head of the conference table,
waiting for the rest of the staff to arrive. Floating in the air
next to him was a pulsating green sphere of energy. It was an energy
being who went by the name of M-5438. He was a cop from the
Andromeda Galaxy who had often been to the Earth on liaison visits.
His high voice had initially annoyed Ramon, but he
had gotten used to it. After working several cases together, they
had become friends. They had even found a common interest, musical
staff filed in. First to arrive were Sal and Lip, followed rapidly
by Captain LeBlanc, Mike Wigglesworth, and Duncan Kriebel. Once they
were all seated, Ramon spoke up, “This is M-5438, a cop from
the Andromeda Galaxy. He’s tracking someone who might have a
bearing on the mutant situation.”
expectantly at M-5438, who said in his high pitched voice, “Thank
you Commissioner. Last month I was on the trail one of our most
dangerous criminals…Z-6666. After over eleven hundred of your
years in prison, he managed to escape. I tracked him to Tergon 5
before I lost him.”
Sal hooted with
laughter, “Why would an energy being go to a pleasure planet?”
“We are able to meld with willing humanoid
hosts. I’ve done it many times myself. We can experience your
pains and pleasures…quite a novelty.”
Captain LeBlanc’s right eyebrow arched, “So,
what does this have to do with us?”
criminal likes to come to Earth and cause trouble. He’s been
known by several names, Genghis Kahn, Jack the Ripper, and Adolf
Hitler are but a few. He’s always managed to disassociate
himself from the human host before their death. So he lives to cause
LeBlanc looked interested, “So, what makes
you think he came here?”
his energy signature to Tergon 5. Then his residual signature, which
fades after prolonged merging with a material creature, pointed
toward New-New York. When I heard news of the mutant situation here,
I deduced he was here.”
Duncan raised his hand, “Does the host have
any control over his actions?”
There was a brief pause, “Z-6666 directs and
amplifies the evil impulses of his host. However, he does not
completely control the host.”
Mike asked, “Is there any way to separate
“Yes, but first we have to detect them.”
“So how do we do that?”
“I can show you how to construct a device to
do it. Unfortunately, it is of very short range, just a few dozen
feet. Also, it is line-of-sight.”
“Great,” Duncan moaned.
Ramon broke in,
“What this all boils down to is that this cabron of an
alien probably has a hand in stirring up the latest trouble here in
New-New York. Let’s build this device so we can start the
search. We’ve already got one prime suspect. So let’s
Outside Charleston, South Carolina, July 4, 1800 (6 p.m.)
J. B. paced back
and forth on the hill overlooking the Oaks. He had parked his
hovercar along the roadside, wanting to take a few moments to compose
himself before seeing Leela and Sally. “What a fool I’ve
been,” he said quietly to the open air.
In his mind, he had been a terrible fool. Why
hadn’t he seen the resemblances? What had his grief done to
When Sarah had shown him the Turanga family album,
it all became crystal clear to him. Flora hadn’t died! She
had gone and hidden herself away, pregnant with their child. The
black rage came over him, threatening to steal away his self-control.
Damn his female relations for driving her away with their prejudice
and sharp tongues!
As soon as he realized Flora was alive he sent
word to her through Munda. His note was brief:
alive! I beg that you will allow me to see you. I curse the day
when my ignorant relatives drove you away.
love for you has not diminished in the slightest degree. No, it has
grown. I long to hold you in my arms again and to pick up our lives
where we left off.
All My Love,
She sent a message back. It read:
I cannot see
you at present, though I very much want to. Truly, I would rather
perish than to cause you pain or shame. Once the current madness has
passed, I will rush into your arms once again.
Please go see
your descendants, Leela and Sally. They need your strength.
Know that my
love for you is timeless. You are and always will be, my only love.
With All My
He glanced toward the mansion, where he could see
Varney and Sally sitting on the verandah side-by-side in a matched
pair of rocking chairs, rocking in rhythm. Tears clouded his eyes as
he thought of how he and Flora had rocked in those same chairs, so
many years ago.
Using the back of
his hand to roughly brush the tears away J.B. smiled briefly. He
knew that Varney was probably telling Sally some story about the
family. Family…Lord she looked like Flora! Only her hair was
different, golden brown instead of brick red. “I wonder if she
has a tail?” he muttered.
J.B. glanced at his Wristamajigy. He knew that
they were waiting on him, but he needed a bit more time. Time…all
that wasted time when he and Flora could have been together! “I’ll
waste no more time,” he breathed savagely, “nor will I
allow the opinion of others to sway me.”
“Let’s see,” he said in his
courtroom voice, “As near as I can tell, Leela is my
Great-Granddaughter and Sally is my Second Great Granddaughter. My
own daughter has been dead these past twenty-nine years and my
darling Flora is still alive, somewhere in a New-New York sewer.”
He turned towards the waiting hovercar. He got
behind the wheel, buckled in, and started the engine. “It’s
time I got to know my grandchildren,” he said to the
surrounding trees. Then he sped down the hill, lighter in heart than
he had been for seventy years.
Apartment, 1202 East 49th Street, Apartment 404, July 5, 3004, 0530
(5:30 a.m.).Sarah had arrived at James’
apartment around nine in the evening on the 4th. She had
not slept in almost 48 hours and was desperately tired. Still, she
had to fill James in on all that had happened over the past two days.
After telling her remarkable story, she had smiled and said, “Jimbo,
do you mind terribly if I crawl into your bed for a bit of a nap? I
don’t believe I can make it to my flat.”
James had returned her smile, “Go right
ahead, I’ll be in later.”
“Lovely,” was all Sarah managed as she
headed off for her nap.
Now James was
looking at her still-sleeping form as he sat up in bed in the
pre-dawn. The pieces of the puzzle that Sarah had provided
absolutely convinced him that Brannigan was behind the entire mutant
From what James
had pieced together, Brannigan had profited mightily from attacking
relatively harmless or powerless “enemies” of DOOP. He
was always lurking in the background, jackal-like, waiting to pounce
on such fearsome enemies as the retiree people of the Gandhi Nebula
or the peace-lovers of Eden Seven.
James muttered, “What a piece of work!”
Normally, he would
have gone after Brannigan right away. Unfortunately, several things
kept him from doing so. First, Brannigan was not even in the Galaxy
at the present. He was in the Galaxy of Terror, attacking a
defenseless planet in order to take attention off the mutant
Next, all of the
other criminals he had dealt with were just that…criminals.
Zapp Brannigan still had the reputation, however undeserved, as
DOOP’s greatest hero. Moving against someone like Zapp
required absolute, iron-clad proof. If he gave Brannigan what he
really deserved, he would have every cop in DOOP on his trail.
That didn’t bother him. He did worry about
possible repercussions against Sarah. Brannigan had many powerful
and unsavory friends who would have no scruples about using Sarah to
hurt “the Red Shadow.”
“No,” he muttered fiercely, “I’ll
not lose her.”
slightly and murmured something indistinct as a smile flickered
across her face. James touched her cheek softly, feeling a love for
her that he had never thought could ever find it’s place in his
James made up his
mind; he would build a case so good that even a really dumb jury
would convict Brannigan. Then he would hand it over to New-New
York’s Finest to make the arrest.
James slid quietly from the bed. Crossing the
room, he entered the closet that led to his tesseract. He had a lot
to do before Sarah would be safe. Just as he entered fourth
dimensional space James said grimly, “Look out Zapp, the Red
Shadow is closing in on you.”