You will notice that I am not apologizing. Yes, I am completly unapologetic, to the point where I have excised all of my Canadian inclinations. Tim Horton's coffee, snowmobiles, the utterance, 'eh?' all have been eradicated. Bwahahaha!
Yep, I'm actually updating, whoo! But first, replies!
Thanks for all the birthday wishes and comments on the itty bitty fic. I'm wondering if it feels rushed partly because it really, really was. Also, mom was watching Hotel Rwanda, which was a strange thing to have running in the background when you're shippering. I'm looking forward to writing more tightly with some of the smaller fics coming up.
Meerkat: You're too sweet for words! Thanks for the confidence burst, I hope you're right!
Unknown: Ooh, I love your spooky name. Confidence loss can be awful. Takes all the fun out of writing. Good luck on your project!
Jubei: Nope, I'm no empress! I'm just this girl, you know. (Laughs madly for a second, knowing not everyone will understand.) I'd rather not start a sequel 'til I've finished the original since I might get distracted and never finish it. Then nice people would hunt me down like a dog.
Venus: Oh, no worries, he knows a bit, but really it's all about getting there, isn't it. I mean, I could tell you the ending right now, but then where would the fun be?
You rock, Venus, email me if you need a little "confidence". Bwahaha- (loud crashing sounds) hey, wait, no I meant real confidence! I'm not trafficking... help!)
Sorry... euphoria. Er... not sorry...er, arrooo! Euphoria!!
Gorky: Of course I was worried! And now I'm very happy! (Dancy, dancy!) I gotta reply to the joyful Gorkianisms! You and your metaphorically's. I will always think of you when I hear that word now.
N-o-r: But I did post on other topics... I voted for you in the monthly Peelie dealie.
And I will take the little letters as an invitation to be happy about.
Expect something babbly at some point.
Pataloca: Yay! You're still around! "Laylalites?" Whoo! I gotsa fanclub name!
NIC2001: Merci beaucoup pour l'encouragement! I actually grew into asthma, lucky me. So sorry about your nasty oxygen tent days. Thanks for all your good advice! I'm feeling much better now.
Gorky: Whoa, baby, that was an incredible review of the cliffhanger epidemic. I wanna go back and read it again before I comment on the comments, but know that I love you, okay?
JBERGES really helped me with this, and I'm sure he knows how very very awesome he is, seeing as how I keep saying it ad nauseum.
There's a strange little digression which may come off as Adamsian whic I couldn't bear to part with. It's much improved however, thanks to JBERGES, who rewrote it. I basically stole it word for word from him. Beta's are fun! Can I put your music on my new MP3 player? Cause it would make me happy.
By the way, this is the beginning of the end, but not the whole end. In other words, don't expect any answers just yet!
Every warning noise the Professor had designed his equipment to make, along with several sounds he hadn’t planned, began shrilling alarms, but no one in the room acknowledged the resulting cacophony. Their attention had been fixed on the singularly important question of whether the building, none too sturdy to begin with, was going to survive having a hole the size of Zapp Brannigan’s ego punched through the unresisting wall.
“Daddy’s home!” Nixon was laughing wickedly and with such intensity at the sheer destructive force he was generating, that for a brief moment, he didn’t seem aware of the alarmed faces staring up at him. Munda knew she had to grab Leela and run. She had to fight; she had to do something, anything, but her brain was firing off so many conflicting messages that the mutant could only stand, rooted to the spot while a scream tried to rip itself from her throat.
“Leela!” There was unthinkable loss in that cry.
The paralysis seemed only to affect Munda; the others had sprung into action. With no more time for thoughts of caution, Chastity attempted to haul Leela off the bed. “Munda, help me!” she snapped as the utterly limp woman proved maddeningly difficult to lift. “Munda!” she repeated, with a tone that finally broke the grip of shock on the terrified cyclops.
“Leela!” came the disconsolate wail again, this time with more urgency. An eerie jolt shot down through Munda’s body, as she realized that the cry had not come from her own throat. Astonishment seized her, and she saw the same startled recognition mirrored in Chastity’s face.
Munda dodged left to see past the doctor, who in the same instant spun towards the source of the cry. Fry, eyes closed, was tossing back and forth in uncomprehending distress. Each woman managed exactly one shaky step towards him before Nixon took up their attention once more.
“You!” he bellowed, stabbing one gigantic metal finger at Farnsworth, who was not so much alarmed as confused and vaguely disappointed at being robbed of the chance to play God.
Carefully shuffling to avoid self-inflicting any broken bones, Farnsworth turned to face Nixon, who was impatiently waiting as the drama of his pose faded, making him look sillier by the moment. The ducky sweater did nothing to discourage that impression. The Professor peered up at him in open confusion. He adjusted his glasses saying, “Oh my! Did I forget to pay my taxes again?”
Vengeance would be coming to the doddering scientist, but first Nixon turned his attention towards the other occupants of the room “Ugh! Mutants!” He growled, turning his head away from them and shuddering squeamishly; quite a strange thing to do when one is a giant robot.
Nixon’s years as an actor had given him a certain insight into politics. A president had to be charismatic, good-looking, charming… or, barring that, ruthless, powerful, and evil. It helped to have an über robot body if you could get one. Still, actual politicking involved commitment, like an actor to an Oscar role.
As a sparkling example to the apathetic idiots of Earth, Nixon had never even really looked at the mutants, doing everything in his power to keep the vile beings at bay. While this did thwart the fun he could have had seeing one killed at close range, Nixon prided himself in never giving a mutant the satisfaction of looking him in the eyes. It was, in the end, for the good of the people, if the people knew what was good for them.
Presently, he delicately peered back towards Fry and Leela, and, more specifically, the medical equipment surrounding them. Suspicion laced his voice, “My mutants?”
With a shout of denial, Munda ran at the President trembling with fury. “Stay away from my daughter!” she shrieked, slamming into the unyielding metal of Nixon’s left leg with her fists over and over again.
Some people say that a mother’s love, in all its boundlessness, is one of the most powerful forces in the galaxy. Anyone inside Munda’s mind at this crucial time would realize that a singularity had nothing on her emotional state in that moment. True, a singularity could swallow up a billion Munda’s without batting a galactic eye, but a singularity is slightly more stationary, a good deal less aggressive, and quite frankly, a bit more rational than your average mother. Nixon had no intention of noting Munda’s emotional state at the time, so, unfortunately, all of this was lost on him.
Nixon glanced down at the fearless woman pounding wildly against his robotic form with all the strength in her insignificant body. She was no threat to him, but a bit of a distraction between him and the mutants he intended to take.
Meanwhile, Munda had begun thinking again at last, wondering if there was something more effective she could do, while ruing intensely her ill-chosen words. She was a mutant, and by claiming kinship with Leela, she had made her daughter a mutant in the eyes of the law. But, Munda couldn’t worry about that right now. She wanted her daughter alive and safe; what happened later would be later’s problem.
Casually, and completely without thought, Nixon pulled back with one massive leg and kicked Munda across the room. She lay there in a heap on the floor, wind knocked out of her, as other injuries slowly began to voice a complaint.
“Hey! That’s no way to treat a lady… ish thing!” Bender cried, affronted. He sprung out from the boxes he’d been flung into when Nixon had entered and headed determinedly towards the madman. “Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?” The President scowled menacingly down at the robot.
“Uh, yeah. There he is!” Bender pointed at Farnsworth. “There’s the guy who crossed you. As for me, you know I’m in your corner, as a fellow robot.” It not being an election year, the President evidently did not feel a need for the amoral support.
Nixon brought a massive fist down and crushed Bender like an aluminum can to the shocked horror of the mutants. It didn’t faze the bending unit nearly as much as one might expect it to. “Eh, ain’t the first time it’s happened.” Bender ground out, staggering a few steps before collapsing.
The professor shook his head in disappointment. “You just haven’t got Gary’s style, whoever you are. Now there
was an IRS shakedown robot you could be proud to be dismembered by!”
Nixon took a heavy step forward, grinning wickedly. He was finally going to settle things with the scientist who had caused him a few minor difficulties.
“Eep,” squeaked the Professor as the malignant presence moved towards him. It wasn’t quite expressive of the fear such a threat should generate, however. Really, it sounded more like a question, as if Farnsworth was not entirely aware of why he was squeaking.
Chastity, torn between helping her patients, helping Munda, and preventing the grisly death of the Professor, hesitated in indecision for a split second before dashing to the fallen cyclops. She would not be able to get Leela out without aid and Nixon had started a bureaucratic tirade about why Farnsworth was about to be converted into purée of scientist, buying them highly convenient time. The doctor slid a supporting arm under Munda and pulled the woman to her feet.
“Are you all right? Any pain?” It was by no means the ideal way of checking over someone after a bad fall, but there was precious little time to act. They had to get out.
Munda understood that too, “Nothing we can do anything about now,” she pushed out as she fought back a wave of nausea. Something had gone very wrong inside of her.
Leaning heavily on the doctor, Munda tried to convince her feet to carry her weight while she staggered towards the beds. The doctor kept glancing over her shoulder at the confrontation between the President and the Professor. Even a light tap from the robot body (or PCU: Presidential Conveyance Unit) would kill the fragile scientist.
Munda found she was recovering her mobility to some degree and shrugged away from the doctor to kneel and check on Fry. He was not in good shape. In all the chaos, he had thrashed himself deliriously off the bed. The delivery boy had no idea where he was, and did not acknowledge Munda at all. He was locked in an unreasoning fear, calling out for Leela in helpless terror.
The cyclops wondered about the focus of his worry. Surely Fry had been thinking about Leela before he’d turned on the nasty machine, but was there more to it than that? Had he been aware of the artificial connection between them on some level, the connection the Professor had recently severed? Munda caught a flailing hand and squeezed it tightly for an instant before turning her attention back to the chaotic circumstances.
“You’re going to have to get them out of here.” Chastity commanded Munda as she gestured at Bender, who had un-accordianized himself and was now trying to knock the kinks out of his legs with a bit of wreckage. “Get the robot to help you move them. I don’t know why Fry’s waking, but he’s moving around too much to stay on a bed without restraints.” A faint look of confusion crossed the doctor’s face, but she continued spitting out her instructions. “He’ll need to be carried, but wheel Leela out of here if you can. I don’t want her moving.”
Munda nodded in absent acknowledgement. Numbness had coated her, slowing her mind and wrapping her body in ice. After a quick check on the violently flailing delivery boy, Munda turned to Leela with hope fluttering in her chest. Truly, despite the direness of the situation, she was grateful for the unexpected change in Fry’s condition. Any activity, even terror-filled delirium, was an improvement over the lifelessness that had gripped him since the accident.
Unfortunately, that terrible stillness had only deepened its hold on Leela. The only thing that stopped Munda from screaming was her inability to inhale. Leela was breathing in such fast, shallow breaths that her mother was sure she could not be getting the air she needed. The already pale cyclops looked like death warmed over. Least importantly, but most disturbing to Munda, Leela’s eye was wide open and staring glassily at nothing. If Munda couldn’t see her chest rising and falling like a frightened bird’s, she would have thought her daughter was dead. Moving quickly, albeit unsteadily, Munda gently and firmly closed Leela’s eye, whispering comforting nonsense to her in case she was waking. “I’ve got you, Leela. Mommy’s here.”
Leela did not stir. A sudden impact and a faint crunch drew Munda’s attention away from her daughter. For a sickening second, she thought Nixon had killed the Professor, but no, he was still raving at the amiably nodding scientist.
Fry whimpered plaintively, curled up around his left hand. Chastity was trying to get a look at it, but he was resisting, blind to her good intentions. She gave up. “I think he’s broken his hand, but it doesn’t matter now. Take care of them, Munda.”
With that, the doctor latched onto a piece of twisted metal best described as ‘significant,’ and bolted towards the Professor. “Go, go!” she yelled at him before swinging her makeshift weapon into the President’s leg. The jagged edge of the metal didn’t do much more than scratch the finish, but it was enough to give Farnsworth time to toddle over to where Munda was frantically beckoning.
Nixon liked to think of himself as a hands-on kind of President. With an outraged cry, he decided to put his to use, bettering the world by taking the troublesome vandal out of it. However, as he raised a fist, the dictator got a good look at the determined woman opposing him.
Something amazing, and highly improbable, suddenly came over him. Nixon did bring his fist down, but not to crush, no. Instead, he carefully closed his hand around the struggling doctor and lifted her up to eye level. Chastity swung the metal wildly, trying to shatter Nixon’s jar, but he coolly plucked it out of her hands. They stared at each other.
While Nixon was distracted by the doctor, Munda frantically ushered the Professor out of the building, a task made much easier by the fact that only one wall of the building still stood. Making use of his recovered robotic strength, Bender cleared a path through the rubble in an impressively quick frenzy of movement. He was less concerned, which is to say, not at all concerned, with anyone else’s escape however, apart for a niggling, ‘I oughta care about Fry’ kinda feelingish feeling. This was far from the first time Bender reveled in the cold remorseless logic of his being.
Seizing his chance to avoid all the not-caused-by-Bender havoc, the robot managed a couple of steps outside the building before Munda stopped him with an infuriated shriek. Actually, Bender was quite accustomed to the indignant cries of anyone he cheerily abandoned to their fate, so it required a bit more than that to stop him, specifically, an angry mother.
“Whoa! Hey-wha-hey…” Bender protested eloquently as Munda darted around him and started heatedly shoving him back in the building with all the angry-mother-force she could generate. In other words, a lot.
“You have to take Fry!” Munda hissed, flecks of spittle landing on Bender’s body. “Oh…” he moaned distastefully as he fought to keep his balance in front of the intermittent violent pushing.
Munda gave the petulant robot one last shove towards Fry, cautioning him about the fragility of the delivery boy, “Now, you must be careful-”
“Yeah, yeah, I gotcha.” He dismissed her concerns with an airy gesture. “You’d think I never dragged a raving maniac through the sewers before. Alley-oop!” Bender slung Fry over his shoulder, the impact silencing Fry’s disoriented protests. A startled ‘whuff’ escaped him as he impacted his roommates hard shoulder.
Without a backward glance, Bender carted Fry out of sight, leaving Munda to struggle with Leela. The rickety bed had not exactly been designed for maneuverability but it did have wheels that made some semblance of a spinning motion, enabling her to move it.
Munda did not spend precious time attempting to comfort her senseless daughter. Steeling herself, she neatly jerked the I.V. out from Leela’s hand and began moving Leela out of harm’s way as quickly as she could. It was no smooth ride for the unconscious woman, whose head bounced limply from side to side as, wincing, Munda pushed the bed through the path Bender had opened up, but even with the violent jostling, Leela did not wake.
As she progressed through the debris, Munda peered ahead looking for Bender and the Professor, but didn’t see them when she stepped out of the building. A shiver of consternation ran up her spine.
“Hold on there, ma’am!” A voice came from her left, accompanied by a threatening whine. Hardly daring to breathe, Munda sickly remembered that the President had not come down into the sewers alone.
Two soldiers bearing laser rifles and decked out in full armour had been waiting for her just out of sight. She held herself utterly still as one man frisked her while the other called in her capture. Evidently, they’d expected mutants running from Nixon’s threatening presence. The soldier finished his search and moved towards Leela.
“Oh, please!” Munda whispered, reaching out to stop him. She received a painful jab in her side from a weapon for her trouble. “She’s sick; she’s no threat, please, don’t….” Though the soldier did not acknowledge her plea, he was careful in his search. “She won’t wake,” Munda added, frightened of what might happen to Leela if they were to try and wake her. “Let me take care of her?” The mutant kept her voice polite and level; it would do Leela no good if they perceived Munda as a threat.
“No trouble, then.” The frisker said, watching her face carefully for acquiescence. Munda nodded jerkily. “No trouble,” she agreed.
After a brief, hushed conversation, the soldiers directed Munda to start moving Leela. For the first time, she could see the effects of the fighting on her home. Sights once so familiar to her felt alien and unnatural. They passed homes and shops, a theatre and the shattered remains of a playground. With profound sorrow, Munda perceived the unearthly quietness in the humid air. From time to time, they would pass by ragged bundles of clothing. Only when they went very close to one such bundle did Munda realize what her eye was telling her. They were bodies. The cyclops shuddered at the macabre scene and tried not to see, but she had to look ahead in order to avoid running the bed into any obstacles. The soldiers did not offer to help. The creaking of the rusted wheels echoed strangely in the cavernous area and only made the silence more ominous. In this area at least, the fighting was over. With a crushing wave of grief, Munda thought of her husband, still missing.