She looked at the note she had burned into the piece of metal with her wristamajigger’s laser, satisfied it told Fry everything he needed to know.
Gone running. Back soon.
Satisfied, Leela tied the running shoes that he had found for her, somewhere in the vast complex, along with the shorts and T-shirt she was wearing. She had had enough of being cooped up here in her hospital room. The scanner, or whatever that thing was, had wrung her out, but after three days of rest with nothing but a handful of six hundred year old movies that she had no contextual understanding of, she needed to move.
She started slowly, stretching her legs and her lungs. She knew that she could normally run five miles without much effort, but it had been at least a week since she had tried doing anything more strenuous than walking and she had just been through the ringer, metaphorically speaking, and she didn’t want to push it. However, soon she was pushing herself at what she considered to be about 75% of her normal pace. Feeling good, Leela pushed harder.
As she ran through the deserted halls, she began to think about everything that had happened in the last week. She was now fully human and loving her eyes. Stereo vision had taken a little bit to get used to, but now that she had it she couldn’t remember how she had lived without it for so long. Plus, she had Fry all to herself while she tried to get him to really respond to her. His resistance to her had broken down a little bit earlier, and with every little look and innuendo, he was getting closer to being completely hers. It made her sad to think that they would have to leave this place and go back to Amy and Bender empty handed. They had theoretically started this little trip to help find more fuel and supplies. Well, there was certainly enough food for the organics, and with all of the robots around here, she thought they could find something to keep Bender operational for a while longer. But it was the fuel problem that bugged her more. She still hadn’t seen anything that remotely looked like a hanger, and unless they could find some other source of dark matter, they were going to be stuck on Terra (or Fake Earth as Fry had been calling it) for the rest of their lives. Smiling at the thought of spending the rest of her life with Fry, Leela kept running.
Leela was irritated. She had no clothes other than the hospital gown that she was wearing. She had no idea where her clothes had gone, but she was sure that it was Fry’s fault. He couldn’t even find her wristamajigger. At least if she had that, she’d be able to play Tetris instead of watching some six hundred year old movies that she barely understood. It was like talking to Fry, but with even less knowledge of the context. Terra, or Fake Earth as she called it, was just close enough to the real Earth that she thought she understood the movies, but then some concept or character would come up and she’d be totally lost. She sat up and started to turn, feeling slightly dizzy as she did, when Fry walked in.
“Morning Leela,” he said with his hands behind his back. “Sleep well?”
“Those had better be my clothes, Fry. I want out of here. We’ve got too much to do for us to be sitting around. I’m sure that Amy and Bender have completely drained the rest of the dark matter from the fuel tanks by now.”
“Well, they aren’t your clothes,” he said bringing the bundle out from behind his back, “but they are clothes. Sort of. I still can’t find yours, though. Nurse thinks that one of the other robots took them for disposal.” Handing the bundle to her, she saw that they were a utility jumpsuit for Complex 1138, a pair of work boots, and some socks and underwear. “You need a hand,” he asked as she reached up and started to untie the back of her gown.
“No thank you,” she said a little more harshly than she intended. His face fell as he turned his back to her. She had to stop this. He was trying to help and she was taking her frustrations out on him, even if all of this really was his fault. This stuff isn’t too different from my regular underwear, she decided as she pulled them on. Must be from this Universe’s equivalent of the Bulk Underpants Outlet, she thought as she adjusted herself. Stepping into the legs of the jumpsuit, she zipped it up. It felt like the outfits that the Professor had bought them a few years back when they got that Romaticorp contract. That mission had led to Bender getting intimate with their ship, and then nearly killing all of them when he dumped it. And it led to her and Fry getting closer. If it hadn’t been for Zoidberg, who knows what might have happened that night…
“I’m sorry, Fry,” she said as she sat down to put the socks and boots on. “I know that I’ve been hard on you about this, and I’m really sorry. It’s just that I’m a lousy patient and taking it out on you. You’re trying to make the best of this and I’m not.”
“That’s OK, Leela,” he said, just like nothing had ever happened. He did that a lot, it seemed. He never really could stay mad at her. It was nice, but she knew it could be dangerous. She knew how he felt about her, but she wasn’t sure how she really felt about him. He was, without a doubt, the best friend she had ever had, but she didn’t know if she wanted to jeopardize that by having a relationship with him. Looking over at him, she saw that Fry wasn’t paying attention to her, but looking up and down the hallway.
“What are you doing, Fry,” she asked as she walked up behind him.
“Uh, nothing, nothing,” he replied nervously. “Just looking.”
“Bull pies, Fry. You’re up to something. You’ve been running around here and disappearing for hours at a time. What’s going on here?”
“Nothing’s going on, Leela. I swear.”
Glaring at him, Leela turned him around and pushed him out into the hallway. “Come on, Fry. You’re going to show me where you found all of this stuff.”
As she rounded the corner, Leela hit the wall, literally.
Rubbing her face as she sat on the ground a few feet back from the wall, she wondered what to do next. She had already been denied by two closed doors and an angry robot, and she wasn’t about to be denied again. This time, she had her wristamajigger. Pushing herself to her feet, she searched the area around the door until she found the control panel. Pulling out the cables, she quickly connected it to the panel and started to find a way to force it open. After several long minutes of work, a door next to her opened. Disconnecting from the panel, she quickly slid inside, nearly getting clipped by the now closing door as she did. The hallway was lit only by blue pulsing conduit that ran along the floor. Turning the light of her wristamajigger to its lowest setting, Leela crept down the hall.
“Let me go,” Amy shouted as the man, who called himself Donner, tightened the ropes that held her to the chair. “I demand my lawyer.”
“Would you please shut the hell up? Since you don’t have any cash on you to pay your debt, and your robot friend was nice enough to tell me who you are, I’m gonna ransom you. And if mommy and daddy won’t pay to get you back, then, lucky for me, there are plenty of people who’d like to have a piece of Wong.”
“Bender, how could you?”
“Stockholm Syndrome. I feel for the plight of my kidnapper in his struggle against you wealthy land owners, or some crap like that. I feel the need to help him redistribute your wealth to the poor. Like me, Bender.”
“Whatever. You decided to help me help the poor, namely me. That kind of thing is appreciated, my robot friend. When her parents, or whoever, pay, I’ll make sure you get your cut.” Pulling tight one last time, Donner said, “Now, don’t be going anywhere. And if you don’t keep quiet, I’ll have to gag you.”
When Donner walked out, Amy glared at Bender. “How could you?”
“Like I said, Stockholm Syndrome. But, I’ll be cured after I rob this chump blind. I’ve got tons of swag space available and I need more booze. I’m sure that any cargo ship this size will have plenty of hidden areas with tons of great swag.”
“That’s good thinking, Bender, I guess. Just do it fast, though. After you’re cured, we can go back and look for Fry and Leela.”
“Yeah, about that,” he replied as he started to file his fingers on his chest. “I’m going to need some, uh, motivation, if you want me to go looking for those two. Besides, if you think about it, Fry got you into this mess in the first place. Without him, you’d be safe-ish, doing whatever it is you rich organics do with your free time. Roasting ponies, or whatever.”
“Bender, we’ve got to go back for them.” After getting no response from the robot but his continuing to file his finger tips, she said, “Fine. You know my bank account number. Just make the regular deduction.”
Bender’s eye plate closed as he started the transfer. A few seconds later, he said, “Done. Thanks for your generous contribution to the ‘Making Bender Rich’ fund. It’s been a pleasure doing business with you.”
She was getting angrier and angrier with him. She knew that he had been lying to her, but she hadn’t been sure about what. She still wasn’t sure, but she knew that she was getting close to something. “You’d better not be screwing with me, Fry,” she said as she shoved him down the hallway.
“I wouldn’t do that to you, Leela,” he said, meekly.
Oh, how she hated it when he did that. She’d get angry, then push him a little, and he’d crumble. If he’d just show a little spine, she might, might, consider him the way he wanted her to. But, for every step forward he’d make, for every positive thing he’d do, he’d do something stupid and end up taking five steps back and making things worse.
He came to a stop in front of a door marked ‘Storage 3.’ “Here you are, Leela,” he said. “I got everything for you out of this room.”
Pushing past him, Leela slapped her hand down on the door control and walked into the room. Mounted to the counter was a three-foot tall, barrel-shaped white and yellow robot with no apparent arms. It turned its head, focusing its red eye on both of them in turn. Turning toward Fry, it said, “Welcome back, Mr. Fry. What can I do for you today?”
“Who the hell are you,” Leela snapped, stepping up to the robot. “Where the hell is my stuff?”
“Language,” the robot said. “I am called Quartermaster. And you are?”
“Very angry and not afraid of kicking the chips out of you.”
“This is Leela, Quartermaster,” Fry said.
“Oh,” it said scanning her. “So you are the one I’ve been making clothes for the last few days. Glad to see that after six hundred years, I haven’t lost my touch when it comes to creating things for humans.” After it said this, though, it paused, and then scanned her again, more intently this time.
“See anything you like,” she growled.
“You are not the one I’ve been making clothes for. You’re not human. Interesting.”
“Yeah,” Leela said, grabbing Fry by the collar. “Real interesting. Come on, Fry. We’re going to find Nurse. I’ve got a feeling you’re going to be needing immediate medical attention.”
“Goodbye, Mr. Fry,” Quartermaster chirped. After the door slid shut, he opened a communications channel to the Central Computer to report.
She was going slowly, but it really seemed like she was getting somewhere. She had seen several of the same robot guards that she and Fry had seen the other day, but they hadn’t seen her. Or I’d be fried owl, she thought as she looked cautiously around a corner. She saw a closed door with one of the matte black robots standing guard. It didn’t twitch as she quickly ducked back around the corner. She tried to think of something fast, but was coming up blank. She tried to think of all of the other side passages that she had passed on her way here, but none of them led in this direction. That helped to reinforce her opinion that there was something, or someone, important behind that door. Maybe it was where Fry had kept disappearing to over the last two days.
Leela slid back further down the hall and into a small service alcove to think of a plan and look for anything that she could use to distract it, or, if it came to it, use as a weapon. The best she came up with was an empty tool box. She was about to give up when she heard heavy feet stomping toward her. Squeezing back into the corner as far as she could, she saw the robot march past. She held her breath for several long seconds and willed her heart to not beat so loudly. Eventually, she slowly let out the breath she was holding and slid as quietly as she could out of her hiding place. Looking back around the corner, she saw the door was now unguarded.
“Obviously a trap,” she muttered to herself as she looked up and down the hall. “But the questions are, who’s setting it, and why? Well, might as well spring it,” she said as she walked toward the door. Reaching out, she touched the control pad and opened the door.
Standing there was a small gray haired man in a brown suit. He seemed to be angry, but there was something almost playful about his eyes. “You’re in quite a bit of trouble, Turanga Leela,” he said. “I don’t like people trespassing in my home, especially after I went through all the trouble to clean it up and hide it after you humans helped to wreck it.”
“How do you know me?”
“I’ve known who, and for that matter what, you are from the moment that Nurse started her work on you. And then there was Quartermaster, not to mention all of the maintenance robots and that security robot you met the other day.”
“Yes, I am, effectively, the Central Computer. My name is Sylvester. Under other circumstances, I’d say that I was pleased to meet you. But, you and your two friends are causing me a small problem.”
“Friends? What are you talking about? There’s only me and Fry.”
He just smirked and raised an eyebrow at her.
Bender was sitting on the bridge of the PE ship, abusing the Grey Lady’s internet connection and catching up on the multiple internet scams that he was running. Based upon his own calculations, and the more reliable ones that his various phony internet sites made, he hadn’t checked in for nearly four days, and that was way too long. Adding that to when he came to earlier that morning, that meant that they had spent nearly three days on the other side of that wormhole and out of touch with his ‘business interests.’
Checking the last back up he made before they left on that last delivery, he saw that he had approximately three days worth of data that he couldn’t find. Angry that he had had some fun somewhere else and he couldn’t remember it, Bender disconnected from the internet and jacked into the ships main computer to hack the security tapes.
It took nearly an hour for him to locate it all, and it shocked him when he saw it. He was being nice and subservient to the humans. HIM! Bender the Magnificent! If anything, those jerks should be worshipping him! As he analyzed his internal data and the ship’s security tapes, he saw that for some reason, he suffered some sort of breakdown that led to him trying to kill the rest of the crew. After reviewing the data again, though, he changed his mind. Instead of cold-blooded murder, he saw it as doing the humans a favor by killing them. They would have just suffered and died a horrible and lingering death from starvation if they had stayed on that planet. The other part that surprised him was that Amy, of all people, had succeeded in stopping him. She had beaten him with Leela’s security lightsaber and knocked his head off. Amy? What the hell? He would have to do something about this injustice. He couldn’t have people think that he was some chump that any human could push around. He’d have to start stealing this chumps swag and fast. Then he’d have to do some bending.
“All right,” Donner slurred as he staggered drunkenly into the room. “Yer parents ain’t gonna pay for you.”
“It’s only been a couple of hours,” Amy said. “They’re probably on vacation somewhere.”
“I think that yer robot friend was lyin’ to me. I think that you really ain’t Amy Wong of the Mars Wong’s. I thinks that yer just some cheap tramp who’s tryin’ to save her own neck, anyway she can.”
“Bender,” she shrieked. “Help me!”
“That robot ain’t gonna help you. He’s on my side. He’s totally loyal to-.” He stopped midsentence with a scream as a pair of metal hands grabbed his shoulders and bent.
“I’m only as loyal as my last pay check, meatbag. And she pays better than you.” Bender bent Donner a few times than shoved him into the wall.
“Thanks Bender,” Amy said. “I guess you finished robbing him?”
“Yeah,” he replied as he untied her. “This guy had crap. All I really got out of it was some cheap booze, not that I’m complaining about it. There’s nothing like the burn of cheap hooch to really get a robot like me, Bender, going. But he was totally lacking on swag.”
“How’s he set for fuel? We need to refill our ship before we go anywhere.”
“How the hell would I know how much fuel he has? And why not just keep this thing?”
“Because if I know my father, he’ll be calling Nixon to send out the DOOP to save me. And Nixon will probably send out Zapp Brannigan. And as much as I want to see my Kiffy, I don’t want to have to deal with Leela if Zapp comes to her rescue.”
“I don’t know why Leela doesn’t like the windbag. I mean, as far as you humans go, he’s not really any worse than the rest of you.”
“He’s much worse than the rest of us, Bender,” Amy said as they headed toward the engine room. “He’s an insensitive jerk who abuses my poor Kiffy. That’s reason enough for me.”
“Meh. All you organics make me sick, with all your emotions and bodily functions and crap like that. Nothing at all like the pure, cold, remorseless logic of a robot.”
“Whatever. Bender, I need you to go down to the cargo bay and hook up a fuel transfer pump. I'm going to see what he’s got and do a little resource redistribution so we can get out of here.”
“Oh, I see. It’s ‘robbing someone’ when I do it, but it’s ‘resource redistribution’ when you do it. You humans are all the same,” he said as he walked out.
She just watched him leave and shook her head. Something was eating at Bender, but she didn’t have time to play robo-analyst to find out what. After one look at the room, she could see why he was trying to ransom her. The place was a disaster area, with junk and spare, and broken, parts littering the almost every square inch of the floor. When she finally made it to the fuel gauge, she was disappointed. Donner had less than a quarter of a tank of fuel. Shutting down the engine, Amy began to set up the fuel transfer. She just hoped that there was enough fuel in their ship to get out to the exterior fill port so they could get what Donner had.
Amy just turned around and started for the door when the ship started shaking from a powerful impact and everything went black.
“Nurse,” Leela yelled as she shoved Fry into the Treatment Room. “Get your metal ass out here right now or so help me Oprah, I’ll start ripping this place apart to find you.”
“Please state the nature of your medical emergency,” Nurse said as it walked out of the control room.
“Oh, it’s not my medical emergency,” Leela said, walking up to it. “It’ll be your emergency if you don’t answer my questions.”
“What’s to explain? I have questions, you have answers, and I want answers, even if I have to rip most of your body apart to get them.”
“I warned you about this, Mr. Fry. I told you that you shouldn’t wake them…” Nurse powered down midsentence.
Leela walked over to it and hit it a few times. “Wake up you stupid robot.” Reaching around her back, Leela flipped the breaker a few times, trying to get it to reset. Disgusted, Leela shoved the robot over. “Alright, Fry. I’ve tried to be nice, but I’m not getting any answers.” Grabbing him by the shirt, she picked him up off the floor. “I’ve got questions, you have answers, and I want them NOW!” Throwing him down, Leela straddled him and leaned down until their faces were separated by inches. “Do you hear me, Philip J. Fry? I want the truth, and I want it right damn now.”
“The humans will cease their interpersonal interactions,” they heard Nurse say suddenly. “The Central Computer has requested your presence.”
“I’m not going anywhere until I get what I want,” Leela shouted.
“Your presence is not optional. You will accompany a security robot to the Central Computer.”
“The hell I will,” Leela said. “Tell me what’s going on!”
The door opened and a matte black security robot walked into the room. The blue T-shaped light on its face turned Leela’s way. “THE HUMANS WILL ACCOMPANY THIS UNIT TO THE CENTRAL COMPUTER.” It raised its arm, pointing its laser cannon at them. “THIS IS NOT A REQUEST.”
“So, where are they,” she asked Sylvester as he pushed a few buttons on the console. The little man had made her wait for almost an hour. Every time she asked why, he would just reply that guests were coming and that he only wanted to tell the story once.
“Patience, Leela. They’ll be here any minute.”
Almost on cue, the door to the chamber opened. Leela turned to see a black security robot leading in two very familiar faces. The first was Fry, looking completely broken. His head was bowed, his sholders sagged, and it looked like his spirit was completely crushed. She started to go over to him and wrap her arms around him, but the second face that stopped her dead in her tracks. It was her, but with only one eye. The two Leelas gasped as they locked eyes on each other.
“Good. Now that everyone is here we can finally begin,” Sylvester said, snapping his fingers, the door sliding shut in response. The two women just stared at each other and Fry desperately wished he was somewhere else.
Amy pushed herself off of the walls as she stumbled through the engine room. Emergency lighting had kicked in a few seconds after the rest of the lights went out, and they still had some life-support and gravity, but the ship was shaking and groaning loudly. She slapped the door open control, but nothing happened. She slapped it again and again, but still with no result. Panicked, she ripped open the cover of the manual release control vault to try and force the door open. Looking in, her heart fell. The wiring had been fried and disconnected a long time ago. Turning around, she started to look for another way out.
She saw a faint green outline of a door on the far side of the room. She ran as best as she could, jumping over the piles of parts and empty containers as she did. In the emergency light, she saw what she was hoping to see, a sign on the door read ‘Escape Pod.’ When she pushed the button, the door only opened less than half way. Sighing at the poor maintenance of the Grey Lady, Amy exhaled as much as she could and slid through the small gap into the pod. She strapped herself in and then hit the ’Launch’ button, hoping for the best.
Bender walked calmly through the ship as it shook. Power was out all over the ship, but he wasn’t too concerned. He didn’t need life support and the lack of power for the doors didn’t slow him much. He had already bent and ripped open several doors on his trip to the cargo bay where the ship was parked. Amy had wanted him to help her, but after the revelation he had earlier today, he was content to let her rot. “Stupid Amy and her stupid human double standards,” he said as he forced his way through another door. “’Bender’,” he said, imitating her voice, “’stealing is wrong, except when I need you to do it.’ Blah, blah, blah. Stupid humans. It’s no wonder I want to kill them all.”
After forcing his way through another door, he arrived in the cargo hold. Sitting there, right where he left it was the Planet Express ship, with the fuel transfer tube still attached. After the revelation that he received earlier, he thought that he might have to escape quickly, and he knew that the ship was faster than the Gray Lady. And, then it was just his luck that Amy wanted to steal fuel from Donner. He wouldn’t have to explain anything to her, and she would just assume the difference in what was left in Donner’s tank and what was in their tanks was because of the relative sizes, none the wiser that he had already struck. Engaging the magnets in his foot cups, Bender hit the hatch release and calmly walked to the ship as the cargo bay’s empty crates flew past him into space.
As he sat down on the bridge, Bender powered up the ship. Not having to worry about life support systems, Bender was able to get the ship out of the bay much faster than usual. With robot-like efficiency, he slid the ship out of the bay and into space. Then he saw why the ship was falling apart: the DOOP ship Nimbus was there, firing on them.
The ship shuddered and its forward motion stopped. Doing a quick check, Bender found the ship engulfed in a tractor beam and it was slowly being pulled aboard the Nimbus. “Aw, crap,” he said. “But, on the other hand, there’ll be more humans to steal from and then kill. Plus, the Nimbus is a better weapon to use against the non-robots.” Shrugging his shoulders, Bender put his feet up on the console, laced his fingers behind his head, and waited to be ‘rescued.’
The room was completely silent, except for the occasional beeping coming from the console. The two Leelas just stared at each other. Finally, the mutant Leela said, “Fry, what the hell is this?”
“Why are you asking him,” the human Leela said. “What did you do to him?”
“Much less than he deserved, and it’s only the beginning of what I’m going to do to him. Who the hell are you, anyway?”
“I’m Turanga Leela. Who the hell are you?”
“You can’t be Turanga Leela. I’m Turanga Leela. You’re just some, some, copy.”
“The hell I am. I’m the real Leela. You’re the copy. An imperfect copy, I’d say. I used to look like that before Fry had Nurse cure me.”
“Fry did what,” mutant Leela said slowly. Turning quickly, she punched Fry in the face, knocking him onto his back. Jumping onto him, she started to punch him. “You stupid bastard,” she screamed as she hit him. “You lied to me! You betrayed me for some skank!” He didn’t even try to raise his hands to defend himself.
“Hi-YA,” the human Leela screamed as she leapt at mutant Leela, kicking her in the back of the head, knocking her off of Fry. “Alright, bitch,” she said. “Get your hands off my boyfriend!”
“Your what,” mutant Leela asked. “You can’t be serious?”
“Oh, I am. I love him and I’m not letting you treat him like this. Hi-YA,” she yelled, leaping to kick mutant Leela in the head.
Mutant Leela ducked as human Leela sailed overhead. “Alright, you two-eyed skank,” mutant Leela said as she stood up and turned, “let’s see what you got.”
The two women closed and started trading punches and kicks, each blocking the other’s attacks. Mutant Leela was striking faster and harder, but because of her better depth perception, human Leela was able to connect more often and more accurately. Snarling, mutant Leela hit human Leela hard between the eyes, sending her through a window and into a hallway.
Kneeling down next to Fry, Sylvester saw that he was unconscious. “Lucky for you I’m a doctor,” he said as he started to treat Fry’s injuries. “Of sorts,” he added with a grin.
They fought, exchanging punches and kicks, neither gaining an advantage over the other. Human Leela ducked to the side as mutant Leela put her fist through a wall inches away. The human quickly snapped a head butt into the mutant’s face, staggering her. The human shoved the reeling mutant back a few steps and threw a quick series of kicks at her, connecting a glancing blow to the side of her head.
“I know all of your moves,” the human said. “You might be stronger because you’re still mutant, but I’m faster and I can see much better than you.”
“Oh yeah, with your fancy two eyes,” the mutant snapped back. Swinging a kick low, she swept the human’s feet out from under her. “Didn’t see that coming did you?” The human rolled backwards and to her knees as the mutant tried to stomp on her stomach. “Stay still, damn it.”
The human came to her feet quickly and executed a spin kick that would have taken off the mutant’s head if she hadn’t ducked. The blow knocked out a window and sent glass flying in all directions, with some shrapnel hitting both women. The mutant took the opening and punched the human in the stomach, doubling her over. While her opponent was bent over, the mutant grabbed the back of the human’s shorts and tossed her out the window.
Looking down, the mutant saw that the human had landed face-down in a large vat of muddy goo and was slowly sinking in. “Good,” she said as she turned away. “That’s one problem solved.” She took three steps and stopped. Sighing, she looked back out the broken window, seeing her own purple hair starting to sink down into the goo. “I’ll do it,” she said, “but I’m going to hate myself in the morning.” Taking a deep breath, she leapt out the window.
Bender was in sleep mode when the Planet Express ship settled down in the Nimbus’ hanger. Several DOOP Special Forces Commandoes charged onto the ship and were screaming at him to not move. One of them came forward and whacked him on the side of the head, causing Bender to open his eye plate and glare at the man.
“What,” he asked angrily.
“Who are you,” the man said, pointing his rifle in Bender’s face.
“You part of the crew?”
“I’m the cook.”
“Where’s the crew, robot?”
“Ahuhknow. Some planet somewhere, I guess. I haven’t seen ‘em in a couple of days.”
“What were you doing on that ship?”
“We were captured.” Aw, crap, Bender thought.
“Who’s ‘we’? You just said that you hadn’t seen the rest of the crew in a couple of days.”
“Fine, me and Amy Wong. She’s the engineer. I left her on that ship because I couldn’t get to her since you guys were shooting at us.”
“Private,” the man said, turning toward one of the other troopers. “Take this robot to the holding cells until we find out what’s going on here.”
Slowly getting to his feet, Bender looked at the troopers and saved a copy their faces to his ‘Revenge’ file. It was small right now, but it was starting to get larger.
Amy floated in the escape pod for nearly half an hour before she felt it shudder as a tractor beam snared it in green light. She tried hard, but couldn’t see who her rescuers were. Settling back down onto the couch, she fidgeted until she couldn’t sit anymore and started pacing around the small cabin. She had to grab a handle near the door to avoid falling as the pod came to a sudden halt. As she was pulling herself up, the door to the pod hissed open, revealing a shadowy, but slightly familiar, figure. “Amy,” a familiar voice said. “Amy, is that you?”
“Kiffy,” she squealed as she ran from the pod and tackled her boyfriend. “You don’t know how happy I am to see you,” she said as she kissed him repeatedly.
“Amy, uh, I ,oh, em, heh, uh, oh, I mean,” Kif stammered, unable to get Amy off of him.
“My God, Kroker,” a man said. “Stop this right now. You’re embarrassing yourself.” Looking up, Amy saw who she feared she would see if Kif was around: Zapp Brannigan. He was practically standing on top of them, so when she looked up, she had to look away quickly in disgust and revulsion.
Getting off her boyfriend, Amy said, “Splech! You really should wear pants, General.”
“Nonsense, Ms. Wong. There’s nothing like an unfinished basement for pure comfort.”
“What are you two talking,” Kif began as he looked up. “Guh, oh, ugh, my,” he stammered as he quickly rolled over. “Ugh, there isn’t enough Torgo’s Eye Bleach to clear that image from my retinas.”
“Kif, once again you disgust me with your womanly ways,” Brannigan said as he hauled Kif to his feet. “I expected you to be more open minded about things, what with your dating a Chinese Martian and all.”
“Womanly ways are one thing,” Amy said pulling Kif close to her. “Having to look at your commanding officer’s junk because he doesn’t wear underpants is different.”
“You too, Ms. Wong? I would have thought a rich woman like you would appreciate a real man’s eccentricities. I simultaneously excited and disgusted by you, Ms. Wong,” Brannigan said, sliding close to her and trying to pull her away from Kif. “Perhaps you should stay in my cabin while I work out my feelings?”
Grabbing him by the wrist, she yelled, “HI-YA,” and flipped him over her shoulder and to the ground. Still holding his wrist, she put her foot into his armpit and twisted slightly, causing Zap to cry out in pain. “Please don’t touch me. Put your hands on me again and I’ll show you some other things that Leela’s showed me.”
“My Leela’s showed you things? Now I feel scared and aroused.”
“Guh,” Amy said disgustedly, quickly letting him go and wiping her hands on her coveralls.
“Sir,” one of the guards said from across the hanger. “We’ve completed our assault on the cargo vessel. Apart from the two ships that we recovered, there were no survivors.”
“Excellent,” Zapp said. “A complete success, as usual. Give the men their standard reward for this sort of thing: open the sundae bar for an extra hour tonight.”
“Hooray,” the guard said sarcastically as he raised the communicator to his mouth to relay the orders.
“Did you pick up Bender,” Amy asked.
“Yes,” Kif said. “He was sitting on-board the Planet Express ship, waiting for us.”
“He left me there?”
“To be fair,” Zapp said, “you were far away and the freighter was starting to fall apart. He probably didn’t think you were still alive.”
“I guess,” she said, sounding a little unconvinced. He was acting a little strange before on the freighter, and now this. Meh, she was sure that everything would all work itself out. “Oh,” she said suddenly. “We need to head for a wormhole and save Fry and Leela.”
Zapp’s eyes went wide. “What’s this about my bosomy swan Leela being in trouble? Tell me everything, Ms. Wong.”
It was the night cycle on the ship. General Jack-ass had ordered them into combat again, but this time it was against an unknown foe. No one knew specifically where they were headed, but knowing Brannigan, it probably involved a woman. Every mission they went on for him involved a woman somehow. He was either fighting to impress one, fighting to rescue one, or the one occasion that was NEVER talked about, kill one.
Lieutenant Chambers sat at the desk in his quarters, finishing his after action report for the incident with that bending robot a few hours earlier. That robot was why he hated sentient machines. They would get uppity and forget that humans were their superiors. If he had his way, he would have thrown it into the ships furnace and melted it down. But, the General had ordered anyone found on that ship held so he could question them personally. “The man is an idiot,” he said to himself. Turning out the desk lamp, Chambers got into bed. There was soft knocking on his door.
“What,” he yelled, not getting up.
“Lieutenant Hermfarma….,” the voice was muffled, so he couldn’t understand it.
“What? Who,” Chambers yelled.
“Lieutenant Chambrellaharmana….,” the voice said, again sounding muffled.
“Go away, Carter,” he yelled, and pulled his covers up. Someone knocked again.
“Candy-gram,” the voice on the other side said. After a few second pause, it added, “Flowers.”
“What the hell,” he said as he got up and walked to the door. “This had better be good or so help me I’ll-.” He was cut off as a pair of hands grabbed him around the throat and pushed him back into this room. The door slid shut quietly, blocking out the Lieutenant’s screams.
Everything was dark. She felt cold and slimy, and something smelled terrible. Sliding her hand toward her face, Leela noticed that she was the thing that stunk. Or, more precisely, it was the cold slimy stuff that covered her body. Reaching up toward her face, she wiped the nasty mud out of her eyes. She blinked quickly and tried to roll to her feet, remembering what had been happening. She got halfway over when she collapsed form the pain in her thighs, back, and shoulders.
“Easy,” a familiar voice said. “You had a nasty fall.” Turning, she saw her mutant twin sitting across the room, leaning up against a metal vat, covered in what looked like the same slimy, foul-smelling mud that covered her. “Yes,” the mutant said to the unasked question. “I threw you out the window and then I saved you from drowning in that muddy goo. Don’t ask me why, but I did.”
“So, what do we do now,” the human croaked as she sat up and slid up against her own vat. “Start fighting again?”
“I’m not really in the mood anymore,” the mutant replied. “You?” When the human shook her head slowly, the mutant continued, “I’ve got some questions still, but I guess you’re the answer to some of them.”
“My only question,” the human said, “is which one of us is really me.” When the mutant raised her eyebrow, the human said, “Whatever. You know what I mean.”
“Yeah, I know.” Looking around, the mutant asked, “Do you know where we are?”
“I have no idea. I only made it into this portion of the base a few hours ago. And I spent a chunk of it that with Sylvester.”
“I just wish I knew what happened to this Earth,” the mutant said as she stood up.
“I think that that was what he was going to tell us before, you know,” the human said, trying to stand up, but only making it to one knee due to the pain. The mutant instinctually stepped forward and offered her hand. And, acting on instinct, the human took it and pulled herself to her feet. The two women stood face to face, just staring. Her hand shaking, the mutant reached up and wiped the mud off the human’s face to get a better look at it. With her hand also shaking, the human did the same for her counterpart.
After several minutes of staring at each other, the mutant whispered, “I’ve, I’ve never had a sister before, and now it looks like I do.”
“I wouldn’t know,” the human woman said, her voice heavy with emotion. “I can’t remember before we landed here. Nurse said it was because of the bronzillium poisoning.” The human sniffled a few times before starting to cry. The mutant hesitated for a few seconds before wrapping her arms around her twin, before she started to cry, too.
After several minutes clinging to each other, the women, still holding each other, separated some. Wrinkling her nose, human said with a smile, “Ugh, you could really use a shower.”
“You too,” the mutant said, also smiling. Looking down at the human’s left arm and seeing the wrist-a-majigger, the mutant said, “Hey! That’s mine. I’ve been looking for it for days.”
“No, it’s mine. I’ve had it since I woke up, anyway. But with all of this goop on our hands, I doubt either of us could open the clasps. Since it’s already on my arm, how about I just hang on to it until we figure out which one of us is the real one of us. Then, the real one gets it. Is that OK with you?”
“Yeah, I guess. Let’s go see if we can find your friend.”
“And a shower,” the human added.
“See, I told you it would all work out,” Sylvester said to Fry as they watched the women on the monitor.
“This is all my fault,” Fry said, adjusting the ice pack on his face.
“Yes it is. But, if you hadn’t forgotten to bring along Nibbler, you probably would have never come here, and I wouldn’t have met you. And, that fortuitous event has given me an unlikely opportunity to save your species.”
“Huh,” Fry said, not following what the little man was saying.
Sighing, Sylvester said, “Never mind, Fry. Just know that I’ve decided not to kill you and the ladies outright.”
“Oh. Not dying is good,” he said as he turned back to the monitor to watch the Leela’s progress. “Why don’t you just send one of those black robot things to bring them back here?”
“Oh, I have my reasons,” Sylvester said cryptically. “It’s a nasty little habit I developed some time back. When I was younger, and a little better looking, I used to charm and bluff to get my way, and when that failed, brute force. But, as I’ve aged, I’ve found that being devious is a very useful tool when you’re plotting moves out hundreds of years ahead of when you’re planning on making them. It was a bit hard on the friends I used to travel with, especially poor Dorothy, but it was necessary. Oh, she hated me near the end, but it really was for her own good. She went from a maladjusted teenager to a confident, powerful young woman. I miss her. You know, the last time I saw her, after not seeing her for five or six years, she told me that she loved me and forgave me for what I did. There’s a lesson in there for you, Fry.”
“Huh? What? Oh, yeah,” he mumbled as he watched the two Leelas. “I wonder which will forgive me.”
“Oh, I’m sure Leela will forgive you,” Sylvester said, nodding. “Not too sure about which one, though.”
“So,” Zapp said standing on the bridge of the Nimbus, his hands planted firmly on his hips, “this is the mysterious planet where my Leela is being held hostage by forces unknown.”
“As far as we know,” Amy said.
“That’s good enough for me. Let’s go!”
“Sir,” Kif said. “Shouldn’t we at least scan the planet? Amy said something about there being bronzillium in the atmosphere.”
“It’s poisonous to humans, sir.”
“So? You’re little girlfriend had it, and she survived.”
“Sir, even minor exposure can cause problems. Amy’s stated that she has some short-term memory loss.”
“Fine, Kif. Scan the planet. Just be quick about it! If my Leela is hurt down there while you’re up here making us wait, I’ll have you court-martialed for violating Brannigan’s Law.”
“Ugh. Yes, sir.”
Walking to the console, Kif pushed several buttons. After a few seconds, Brannigans said, “Well?”
“I’m not finished yet, sir. It’s a big planet.”
“Tick tock, Kif. My Leela’s time is wasting.”
“Yes, sir.” After several more seconds, a beep sounded. Looking up from the scanner, Kif said, “There are high concentrations of bronzillium and low levels of several types of radiation in the atmosphere, sir. But, the sensor readings indicate that it is a kind of radiation that only affects certain sentient mechanical life forms. You can avoid bronzillium poisoning by using a Class 1 environmental unit.”
Sighing, Kif said, “It’s a rebreather, sir.”
“A rebreather? I despise those things. The way they torture me, I’d swear they were made by the Neutrals. Those filthy, non-committal Neutrals.”
“That’s because you always put it on wrong, sir. It goes in your mouth, but you keep on insisting that it goes up your nose.”
“Kif, you once again earn my disgust and pity. If I put it in my mouth, how am I supposed to order the men forward to their heroic deaths? No, Kif. It’s a torture device and I refuse to wear it. I’m sorry, Ms. Wong, but we’ll just have to bomb the planet from orbit to kill all of that bronzillium. It’s the only way to be sure.”
“Sir, that will most likely kill everything on the planet, too.”
“Including Leela and Fry,” Amy added.
“Hmm,” Zapp said, sitting back down in his command chair. “If that hair pile is with her, he’s likely cowarded his way into putting my Leela in great danger. Very well, for my big-boned true love, I shall make the sacrifice of wearing some protective clothing. Kif, issue the men those Class 1 thingies. I’ll be taking a fully encapsulated suit of DOOP power armor for myself. That way, they’ll be able to hear my commanding voice at an ear-bleeding 500 decibels.”
“We don’t have any power armor on board, sir. You sold it to that trader from Botan eBay two weeks ago.”
“Again, we’ve been outsmarted. Prepare to take the blame for this, Kif.”
Kif moaned and Amy walked over. She rubbed his back and whispered in his ear until he felt a little better.