Futurama

Fan Fiction

The Other, Part 15
By Rye Guy

6:00am...

The closet door slides open and Amy gently shakes Bender by his shoulder. He mutters something as he wakes. His eye-lid slides up and he yawns, brushing her hand away.

"Five more minutes," he whines.

"Bender, hurry up," Amy orders. "The conference is starting pretty soon."

He closes his eye-lid and crosses his arms dejectedly. "Do we have to go?"

"Like it or not Bender, we're part of this. We have been from the beginning."

"You go ahead and be a part of it. I prefer to remain an individual."

Amy sighs irritably, grabs him by the arm, and drags him out to the hallway where they are greeted by Leela, Korj, and Rytt.

All is silent as the five stand, motionless. Leela's leaning against the wall facing down the hallway to Skyler's room. A scowl streamed across her face while her fingers drum repeatedly on her waist.

"So where is he?" asks Bender impatiently.

There is a moment of discomforted silence which is broken by Leela. "Still in his room."

The deathly still air of the sterile hallway sends a shiver down her spine. Her eye searches the hall for a window, but there is not one. No link to the world beyond these walls. Frustration takes her as apprehension begins to take its toll on her. She wasn't strong enough to handle this. The fear swelling up inside her reminds her of when she was growing up in the Orphanarium. Many nights, as a child, she'd spend hiding under her cot or in closets in an attempt to escape the ridicule and judgment of the other children. It only got worse as she grew older. As a teenager, she attempted suicide on more than one occasion. She remembers slitting her wrist; she cut the skin but the vein remained unharmed. Later, she tried shooting herself, but the gun wouldn't fire. It was at that moment she began to realize that maybe she does have a purpose in life. The fact that she was still alive she found miraculous and considered it a sign. She planted that thought in her mind that one day her true purpose in life would be fulfilled. But now... is THIS her purpose? All this torment? Just when she found the one person who actually loved her, she loses him.

"Damn that Nibbler!" she shouts in her mind. "It's all his fault."

But she couldn't help but feel guilty herself. The scene plays back in her mind over and over again. She could have jumped and grabbed Fry's hand to pull him into the ship. But, instead, she allowed Bereave to take him. Though all seems hopeless now, four words echo in her thoughts: "I'll meet you there."

It fills her with hope. She knows in her heart that somehow, someday, he'll come back.

"But where?" her thoughts continue to wonder for a moment. With a heavy heart, she sighs. "Nothing left to do now but wait it out, I guess," she mutters under her breathe with a lonely tear in her eye.

She feels a chilly hand with three stubby fingers rest on her shoulder. She glances over her shoulder briefly to see Bender.

"You alright?" he asks with a tone of compassion.

She quickly wipes the tear from her eye and with a smile, places her hand on his "I'll be fine. Thanks." Bender returns her smile.

The sound of footsteps brings all their eyes to the direction of Skyler's room where they see him walking towards them.

"Ready?" he asks.

"Let's go," says Korj as he leads the others to the elevator.


Out in the city ruins...

Arlia sits atop the roof of her home and stares up to the beige ceiling of the dome high above her. The large vents throughout this section of the dome cause air to circulate through and create a light breeze which blows through her hair. A few strands drop in her face and she brushes them back behind her ear with her fingers.

"Skyler..."

A loud mechanical whirring is heard throughout the city. She, as well as most everyone else throughout the city, look up to the walls of the dome and see many large panels fold out from the walls and reveal giant view screens. On each one flashes the video feed from the main hall where the conference is to be held. A confident yet worried smile appears on her face as she gazes up to the closest screen.

"...good luck."


The elevator doors open and the group find they are in the same hall where Skyler met with the High Counsel the day before. The hall splits off into two halls: one going right, the other going left. They walk to the junction in the hall and stop as Korj and Rytt turn to face them.

"Skyler and I must go this way. Rytt will show the rest of you to your observation deck down that hall," explains Korj.

"Good luck," Amy nods to Skyler.

"Thanks."

He looks to Leela but she has already begun walking down the adjacent hallway; stomping her feet with each step.

Rytt clears his throat. "Right. Let's follow her than." He leads Amy and Bender behind Leela as Skyler and Korj head on down the right hall.

"Leela, wait!" calls Amy. Leela comes to a sudden halt. "Why'd you storm off like that?"

"I don't trust him. I still have my doubt about his true intentions."

Bender takes a step forward. "Leela, I know earlier I said he gave me the willies. But down in the city yesterday, I got to spend time with him. He seems like a real nice guy. And I don't know about you, but I'm going to watch this kid save this planet." He begins walking to the door for their observation deck.

"But I don't understand," Leela shouts, causing Bender to stop. "How can you possibly believe that?"

Bender spins his head around to her, a solemn expression in his eyes. "It's called faith, Leela," he responds firmly.

As she stands in a stunned silence, Bender walks through the door. Leela shakes her head and walks in, followed closely by Amy. Rytt remains in the hall, perplexed by what he's just seen. "Have I missed something?" he asks himself.


"Are you sure you are ready for this?" asks Korj as he and Skyler stand behind the stage.

Skyler turns and glances around the corner of the wall to see the main room with its hundreds of seats filled; the left half with Jorians and the right with Stoathans.

"Sure, no problem," he responds quite casually.

Korj stares at him with a puzzled look. "I must say, your composure never ceases to surprise me." A trumpet fanfare can be heard from the main room. Korj jumps and runs out onto the stage. "Stay here until I tell you."

Skyler nods. "Right."

Korj rounds the corner and stands alone on the stage. Skyler looks around to make sure he's alone before taking the photo from his pocket. He doesn't even bother to unfold it; he just kisses it quickly and holds it to his heart. "I know they would have done the same thing."

There are two platforms above the main audience seats; one above the Jorians and one above the Stoathans. Beyond them are many more observation decks, seeming to go on for miles from the stage. The fanfare comes from the platform above the Stoathans. Everyone looks up to see a Stoathan in a blue uniform as he lowers his trumpet.

"Your attention please. I now present, our ambassador, Lord Liham." He bows and backs away as Liham enters, his blue cape trailing behind him. The Stoathan mass applauds his appearance. He waves to them but quickly throws down his fist as he sees the other half of the seating below him.

"The Jorians? What are they doing here?!" he immediately looks down to Korj, who fidgets nervously as he attempts to explain.

"They're with me," a voice emanates from across the room. Liham looks to the adjacent platform where a Jorian in a red coat stands.

"Lord Cela?" asks Liham shockingly.

Cela smirks. "Yes. But, I too am curious as to why you and your filthy worms are here."

"Who is responsible for this atrocity?" shouts Liham as he and Cela both peer down to Korj. But before he can answer, a voice from behind calls out in a strong tone.

"I am," claims Skyler. "I have called you both here because I wish to end this senseless war."

"You?" asks Cela mockingly. "Listen, boy, you're not the first to pull this stunt."

Liham agrees. "It would be in your best interest to turn around and just leave. Or else you will suffer the same fate that has befallen the ones before you."

"I can not do that." A light shines in Skyler's eye. He blocks it with his hand and looks up to see the source of it. He sees the distant glimmer of shining silver metal next to a bit of purple and some black. He smiles as he knows just who he's looking at.

"Go Skyler!" shouts Bender. "You show 'em whose boss!"

"Who was that?!" asks Liham heatedly.

Bender jumps from his seat and ducks on the floor. "Nothing."

Liham and Cela both turn their attention back to Skyler.

"Please, ambassadors, I implore you, hear me out," pleads Skyler. "Once I've said what I have to say, you can decide for yourselves."

"And what if we don't agree with what you say?" asks Cela.

Silence.

Skyler gulps. "Then you may kill me too."

The crowd gasps.

"He's willing to sacrifice his life for this planet?!" asks Amy in alarm. She looks to Leela who remains seated with her arms crossed.

"He's up to something, I know it."


In the city...

"Skyler! No! Don't do it!" shouts Arlia hoping that somehow her words could reach him through the screen. She immediately jumps up to her feet and runs to the fire escape on the edge of the roof.


"I must say, boy, I'm rather intrigued," states Cela almost looking forward to the outcome. "Go on, enlighten us."

Skyler takes a deep breathe. "Thank you sirs." He takes a few steps back. "Mom, dad, keep me strong," he prays in his mind. He looks up with a severe look of determination. "This war is pointless," he affirms. "It has been going on for so long; do either of you even remember how this started?"

"What we do is none of your concern!" bellows Liham. "You know nothing of our civilizations and our pasts."

"That may be true. But, I do know something that neither of you do."

"And what might that be?"

"I know what its like to grow up surrounded by war. I know what it's like to see friends and family killed right before my eyes. The blood of the innocent being spilled by the guilty. You two started this conflict, and you are to blame for the slaughter of thousands if not millions."

Cela laughs insultingly. "You say you know, but are we to believe only your words? Do you have any proof of what you claim?"

Skyler sighs heavily. "...I do..." His hand reaches for the front of his jacket. He slowly pulls the zipper down and removes the jacket, dropping it to the floor beside him. He then pulls up his shirt and drops it too. He holds his arms out; becoming an open exhibition of his suffering. The crowd murmurs as they stare at his hideous scars. He turns his back to them allowing them to see a large rusted metal plate on his back. "This plate is comprised of a bendable metal alloy and it supports my back due to a spinal injury I received."

From their observation deck; Leela, Bender, and Amy don't want to look, but they can't turn away. There are several large screws going into his bones to hold the metal plate on. At this point, Leela doesn't know what to think. Is Skyler really what he says he is, or is there something more? She hasn't the time to think about it now.

Skyler turns to the crowd and drops his pants, revealing even more disfiguring scars going down his legs. On his left kneecap just below the end of his boxers, however, is a small light green dot tattoo. Skyler bends down and presses it with his thumb. A small vent opens above his kneecap and releases a slight jet of air. He steps back removing his left leg from the mid-thigh down. The leg stands on it's own as Skyler balances on his right foot. A silence comes over the crowd as he struggles to keep his balance. "I lost my leg when my ship was attacked and crashed. Of the seven of us on board...I was the only survivor," he explains in tears.

Cela glances over to Liham whose gaze is fixated on the young man on stage. Cela grows agitated. "Liham!"

Liham jumps and quickly looks over to him. "What?"

"Don't tell me that you're falling for this!"

Liham stumbles as he tries to form his emotions into words. "Lord Cela, I see something in this boy...I don't know what...but it's as though everything is being made clear to me now for the first time."

"What?!"

"He is down there bearing his very soul to us! Obviously we have done something terribly wrong here that we must rectify."

Cela looks across the room and into Liham's teary eyes. "Lies and deception!" he turns to his two guards by the doorway behind him. "Guards! Shoot him and end this!"

The guards stare in confusion to their master.

"Didn't you hear me? I said 'shoot him' NOW!"

The guards shake their heads in rejection. "I'm sorry my lord, but we can not do that."

They drop their guns at Cela's feet. "Traitors! I'll do it myself!" He promptly grabs the closest gun and aims it at Skyler.

A door by the stage bursts open as Arlia runs in. She immediately comes to a halt when she hears a gun blast. The blast flies to Skyler. She tries to scream but her breathe is stuck in her throat. Everyone in the room screams and disorder ensues as Skyler is struck and thrown to the floor.

"Skyler!" shouts Leela in distress.

"That bastard!" yells Bender as he begins pounding on the console before him.

Arlia runs to Skyler's side. She can hear him struggling to get up. She falls to her knees by his side and sees that he's been shot in the left shoulder.

"Skyler, are you alright?"

Without a word or even as much as a glance to Arlia, Skyler pushes her away and shouts, "Korj! Play it now!"

Behind the stage, Korj hits a red button on the wall causing a large screen to descend down over the stage.

"What's this?" asks Cela.

On the screen appear images of the city ruins within the Neutral Sphere. The video shows the old and feeble crawling among the dirt and mud, children fighting over a tiny morsel of food they found in a dumpster, and the masses of both Jorians and Stoathans fighting to get close to the truck delivering M.R.E.s.

Skyler grunts in pain as he sits up and looks Cela straight in the eyes. "This is what you two have caused. These people are forced to live in conditions worse than poverty because of this war. Now you see what I'm fighting for. Tell me, what are you fighting for?"

By now, the entire crowd is dead silent as they all look up to see Cela trembling uncontrollably. The gun in his hand shakes its way out of his grip. The thud of it hitting the floor echoes in the silent room but is followed by the hum of Cela's platform hovering down to the stage; Liham follows. Cela steps over to Skyler's side and hold out his hand. Skyler smiles and Cela helps him up, carrying him on his shoulder. Liham approaches, then he and Cela readily shake hands. The crowd gives a standing ovation as they cheer.

Leela falls back into her chair and stares blankly down to the site before her. "I just...don't believe it..."


The next morning...

Korj and Rytt lead Leela, Bender, and Amy down the walkway where they see their ship sitting in one piece on the landing platform ahead of them. Skyler, Cela, and Liham are already together on the edge of the platform where millions of Jorians and Stoathans have assembled. Now, there are no tanks driving over rubble, no war ships dropping bombs, no guns blaring, only the sound of celebration.

Liham and Cela join hands and hold them up high.

"Let it be known that from this day forth..." announces Cela "...we live in peace!"

The mass below them rejoice as fireworks explode in the clear blue sky.

The three turn as the rest of the crew join them.

"Come on Skyler. We've been gone for three days. I'm sure the Professor isn't too pleased," states Leela as she walks up the stairs and into the ship. Bender and Amy congratulate Skyler and climb into the ship as well.

Cela clears his throat. "Skyler."

"Yes sir?"

"We can not thank you enough for what you've done."

Liham pats Skyler on the back. "You are always welcome here."

"And if you ever need any assistance, we will be more than happy to help," explains Cela.

"Thank you."

"Skyler! Hurry up!" orders Leela.

"I'd better get going. I wish you two the best of luck." He turns and begins walking up the stairs. He casually places his hands in his pockets but feels something in his right one. He removes his hand and looks to see a golden pin of an angel with a scroll. He stops in his tracks and a smile manages to find a place on his still troubled face.


Down in the city ruins...

Arlia is packing up her few possessions. Everyone in the city has been doing so now that they are finally able to live outside these beige walls and join their brethren on the outside. She hums a tune happily while she places the photos of her and Jaeti in a box. Her humming fades as she begins to admire the photo. A shadow casts itself on the wall. She turns to see Skyler standing in the doorway.

"Skyler? I thought you and the others had left."

"They're waiting outside. I came to see you."

The two walk toward each other and meet in the center of the small room. Skyler holds out his hand.

"I wanted to give you this."

He gently places the pin in her hand. Confused, she looks up at him.

"But I gave this to you. I want you to have it."

"Arlia, I can't accept it. Thanks anyway. But I think its better that you give it to someone special."

"That's why I gave it to you." She takes his hand in hers and slowly moves in for a kiss, but he turns away and a takes a few steps back.

"No, don't waste yourself on me."

"What's the matter?"

"Arlia..." he looks deeply into her eyes, "...I don't want to hurt you. Your place is here and mine is back home. I'm sorry."

He turns and walks out, leaving Arlia all alone in her cold and empty home.


A short while later, the ship takes off and the crew begins their long flight home. Leela pilots as the rest of the crew all sit in the bridge around her in stillness. Skyler gazes out the window to the passing stars in solitude. Leela sets the autopilot.

"We'll all be able to enter Hyper Naptosis since there's a homing beacon to guide us back to Earth. And the Neutrals were nice enough to repair the ship before take off."

Amy stands and stretches. "Let's go on ahead and go to sleep. I can't wait to get back home and get a nice warm bath."

Leela chuckles. "I know what you mean." She glances over to Skyler. "Hey, you okay?"

"Yeah," he responds, unmoving.

"I-I just wanted to apologize for how I've treated you these past few days here."

"There's no need for apology. It wasn't your fault. You've been through a lot lately. But now, you're free to go and find Fry."

A ray of hope suddenly glimmers in her heart. "You're right. He is out there somewhere; I truly believe he is still alive."

He turns his chair to her and grins. "Good. That's just what I needed to hear. He'll come back as long you keep your faith."

Bender stands. "Hey pork-pies! Let's forget all this sappy stuff and get some sleep."

Buddies