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Author Topic: Desire For Vengence  (Read 514 times)
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Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
*
« on: 10-18-2005 19:25 »
« Last Edit on: 11-11-2005 00:00 »

This is a different type of story.  It will start out in the middle, go to the beginning, start out as a shippy story and then converts to something much darker - the dark side of Leela and the need for vengeance.  You have been warned - Ralph.

------------------

The sight before Leela was shocking.  The man that had ventured through the sewers to find her was a strange sight indeed.  He looked to be about 45 years old, a tad over 6 feet tall, about 220 pounds, a little gut forming but also had a large chest with large arms - the signs of a person who worked out in a gym regularly.  His stride was that of one of total confidence in self.  All of those features would be noticable alone, but there was one more feature that caught her eye - his hair.  Long, flowing bleached-blonde shoulder-length hair.  This guy could stand out in a crowd at Space Mardi Gras.  She couldn't hear the conversation that he was having with her parents, but she saw hope form in her mother's eye and her father reached over to shake his hand.  Leela's own heart started to beat faster - this had to be something good if her parents were looking so hopeful.

The stranger came to the couch and sat next to her - out of his briefcase he took out a clipboard with paper and started writing on it - he was aware of her deafness before he had come to her parents home to search for her.  She sat up straight and started asking questions as he wrote.

"Who are you?  Why are you here?  I can't hear because I was deafened by..."

She stopped when he stopped writing, smiled at her and held his hand up in a manner as to tell her to stop talking.  With a sigh, she slumped back down in the couch as she folded her arms.  She knew that it took time for people to write things out, but she was Turanga Leela - patience was NEVER one of her virtues.

The stranger wrote for a few minutes then handed her the clipboard - he had written in print as to make it easier for her to read.  Her heart raced even more as she read.

"MY NAME IS MICHAEL HAYES AND I KNOW WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO YOU - IT'S A TERRIBLE INJUSTICE.  I MAY BE ABLE TO GET YOU MEDICAL ASSISTANCE TO RESTORE YOUR HEARING.  YOU DON'T KNOW ME, BUT I ASK YOU TO TRUST ME.  WILL YOU LET ME BRING A DOCTOR HERE IN 1 HOUR TO EXAMINE YOU?"

A tear welled up in her eye as she she nodded her head vigorously.  "Yes!  Yes!  Please help me if you can!  I can't keep living this way!"

The stranger reached over and gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze as he stood up.  For the first time in 2 months there was a glimmer of hope in her heart.  Fry was dead; Amy had been kidnapped and sold as a slave; Bender had been shot and destroyed by a TOW missle; Leela had been outed as a mutant and driven from the surface; hence no advanced medical care for her deafened state.  She had spent the last 2 months helpless and unable to attempt to save Amy, to avenge Fry and Bender's deaths. The bile and bitterness that had grown to the point that it had taken over her life...

The young woman known as Turanga Leela reflected on the events of the past 3 months as she waited on the stranger's return.  She remembered the mission that Farnsworth had sent them on like it was yesterday - the sequence of events had gone through her mind several times a day since they happened...

-------------- 3 months earlier------------

"Good news, everyone!" Hubert Farnsworth's voice echoed though the PE building, "We have a delivery to be taken to Xeno-5, populated by a race of people so xenophobic that they have mined their entire solar system to prevent any alien contact."

Leela was sitting on the couch between Fry and Bender - all three looked at Farnsworth with stunned expressions.  Even Fry was aware enough to know a suicide mission when he heard one.

"Professor, if this race is so xenophobic, then why did they order something from outside of their planet?"  Leela asked.

"Whaaa?" the Professor asked absentmindedly.  It was evident that the previous thought had evaporated - it was not one of the Professor's more endearing qualities.

With a sigh strong enough to produce gale warnings, Leela stood up and started to walk towards the hangar bay.  "O.K.  Fry, Bender, let's get this done.  Hopefully we will survive this delivery." she stated with a touch of annoyance in  her voice.

"Leela!  This is stupid!  This is a suicide mission.  The solar system is mined, and the people who live on the planet hates everybody else in the universe.  They'll kill us!" Fry yelled in dismay.

Leela stopped and turned around to face Fry.  Even though he wasn't very bright, he did have occasional flashes of cognitive coherence.  She looked into his eyes and saw  fear in them - a look that she recognized.  It wasn't a fear for himself, but a fear for her - he knew that her pride would overrule her common sense and cause her to place herself (and her crew) in dangerous situations.  She was still acutely aware of his 16 day vigil at her bedside as she drifted between life and death after the space bee stung her - a situation where her pride did almost kill her.

She walked to Fry, placed her hand on his shoulder and smiled.  "Fry, you're right.  Whatever this delivery is, it's too dangerous.  It's not worth risking our lives."

A big smile broke out on Fry's face; not only had Leela acknowledged him, but she even told him that he was right.  The two still weren't a romantic item, but since she had started taking medications for depression she had let him become a part of her life - they went out and had fun together almost daily.  He knew where he stood with her - he was her closest friend and she didn't want anything to endanger that; understanding that, Fry backed off and quit pestering Leela for 'dates', instead just enjoying their 'get-togethers'.  She was undergoing therapy to put her trust and emotional issues in their correct places.  She had quit lashing out at Fry and actually started to become a combination of a big sister/best friend to him.  Fry was the ONE person in the world that had no hidden agenda when it came to her.  He had proven himself to be a trusted friend time after time, to the point of placing his life in danger to save her.  She shuttered slightly as she knew that even though he had major surgery to replace his ruptured spleen after the space bee attack, he managed to make it to her bedside and stay with her during her 16 day coma.  Her own parents gave her up to an orphanarium, but this simple kid from the stupid ages risked his life and his health for her, to stay with her so she wouldn't be alone.  The woman who grew up thinking of herself as a worthless orphan now had the knowledge that she was far from worthless.  She would be Fry's wife one day, but she needed to get her emotional life in order.  He knew that and was cool with it; having Leela's trust and respect meant more to him than anything else in the world.

"Professor,"  Leela called as she and Fry walked in lockstep together towards his 'inventing room', "I can't accept this mission - it's just too dangerous."

"Whaaa?" the Professor asked as he looked up from his latest invention (whatever the hell it may be).  "Leela, other than towing the dark matter tanker, you've never refused any mission.  Why?"

"Professor, when I felt like I had to prove myself to others and to myself, I accepted any mission, no matter how dangerous, for acceptance.  I don't have to prove anything now, and I will not risk my and Fry's life for these suicide missions anymore."  Leela simply stated, right hand on her hip, her eye locked on Farnsworth's eyes.

Farnsworth looked pensively at her; he had the deepest respect for Leela:  She was perhaps the most innovative captain that PE ever had; she was definitely the longest-lived captain.  Still, PE needed business and needed money to operate, and she had taken the job knowing that danger was part of it.

"Oh, poodle-spit!" Farnsworth exclaimed,  "Leela, it's not like you to play it safe.  Still, I trust your instincts - if you feel that this mission is too dangerous, then I'll cancel it.  You two go on home and I'll have Hermes find something else for you to deliver tomorrow."

Fry and Leela stared at the Professor then at each other - it was unheard of for him to give in without having an incoherent argument that involved him speaking of replacing the crew with 'atomic powered mutants with laser cannons in their chest'.  What was even more unusual was for him to give them part of a day off.  Fry and Leela rushed out of the 'inventing room' before Farnsworth could change his mind.  They ran past Bender as they grabbed their jackets and gave him the good news of having the afternoon off.

"Good, there's a new craps game on the corner of Main and Maple that I want to check out." Bender stated as the trio ran out of the PE building before Farnsworth had realized that he given the delivery crew the day off.

"Leela, there's a charity cockfight tonight at The Township - wanna go?" Fry asked Leela as they walked down the street.

"Sure.  Let's get something to eat first - my treat.  You cover the admission for the cockfight.  Fishy Joe's OK with you?"  Leela responded.

"You bet!" Fry answered, slightly shocked that Leela extended her hand towards him; he embraced her hand and they walk down the sidewalk, side-by-side, hand-in-hand.

Leela smiled outwardly - she was enjoying life; she had friends; she had just stood up to Farnsworth and won.  She was enjoying an unexpected day off with her closest friend.  She realized that a life-long companion, loneliness, was not around.  Good, she didn't miss it.

Fry was walking on sunshine.  He had gotten a compliment from Leela, he had an unexpected day off, she was going out with him on a regular basis, and now she was walking down the sidewalk holding his hand as if she was proud to be seen with him.  Life just couldn't get any better.

--------Planet Express Building, The Next Morning------------

The next morning Leela showed up at PE at exactly 7:30 AM, her usual time.  She knew that Hermes would already be there, as he came in at 7:00 AM to plot out the deliveries.  She walked by his office, noticing that he was whistling a tuneless tune; this was usually not good - Hermes only whistled when he was going to chew somebody out or fire them - the bastard just couldn't hide his joy at performing these duties. 

Rather than give Hermes the satifaction of knowing her discomfort, she just walked on by to the hangar bay; she would spend 30 minutes pre-flighting the ship.  This was her routine every morning - it was funny, she got a thrill out of being the captain of the delivery ship.  Granted, it wasn't the same as being captain of a DOOP ship, but considering her low expections from her youth and the hated Cryogentics Counselor position she once held, being captain of the PE ship was heaven to her.  She still couldn't believe the sequence of events that led to her becoming the captain - defrosting Fry, having to persue him to implant his career chip, then taking her own chip out under penalty of death, meeting Professor Farnsworth who offered them jobs and just happened to have the correct career chips.

She remembered enjoying the previous afternoon off - she and Fry has a quick supper at Fishy Joes, Fry managed to get/scam front row seats to the cockfight ("He's learning too many of Bender's tricks", Leela thought) - they drank heavily and completely enjoyed themselves.  They finished off the night at the Starfishbucks Coffeehouse near Leela's apartment, Fry walked her home and got a quick kiss on the cheek for his efforts.  Life had turned around for her; she had found her parents and developed a good relationship with them, she and Amy had developed a less-than-adversarial relationship, Bender wasn't nearly as irritating since he received his upgrade, but most importantly, her relationship with Fry was progressing at a rate that made her comfortable.  Just as important to her, she had a job that she truely loved - she loved piloting the PE ship; she constantly referred to it as "her ship" when it really belonged to the Professor.  Farnsworth didn't seem to mind that little quirk of hers - he knew that she babied the ship - she made sure that the crew cleaned it after each mission and that Amy serviced the engines before each major mission, so in a way, it was HER ship.

When she stepped onboard, the first thing she saw was panels on the bridge open and a pink-clad leg sticking out of a section of the bridge.  Eminating from the bowels of the bridge were Cantonese curses - engineer Amy Wong was obviously on the job.  The first question that stampeded across the Cyclop's mind was "What the hell is Amy doing here at this time of the morning?  She's the only person in the world that likes sleeping in more than Fry."

"Amy, what's going on?  What the hell are you doing to my ship?"  Leela bellowed.

"Splee, Leela!  Is it 7:30 already?  I've been installing the Professor's latest invention since 8:30 last night.  You're going to love it!  It's a bona-fide cloaking device.  Now instead of having to fight your way out of bad situations, you can just disappear!" Amy said as she extracated herself from the maze of wires behind the panel.

"Amy, what bought this on?  I'm an excellent pilot and Fry's one of the best gunners around.  The PE ship is faster than most DOOP ships - we can do 95% light speed; why do we need a cloak?" Leela asked, secretly concerned of the answer that she would get.

"Well, the Professor thinks that you wussed out on a mission yesterday because you thought that the ship wasn't safe enough, so he built a cloak and called me to put it in as soon as possible.  Leela, he feels really bad - he realizes that some of the missions he's sent you and the crew on were exceptionally dangerous.  Fry's his only living relative, and he thinks so highly of you, you're almost a daughter to him, it would really hurt him if her were to lose either one of you." Amy replied as she replaced the panel.

At first Leela was pissed that Amy used the term 'Wussed out', but realized that it was just Amy's manner of speech - she had a bad habit of using slang all the time, so Leela's anger disapated.  Also, Leela didn't have as high and nobel opinion of Professor Farnsworth - she knew that he kept Amy around because they shared the same blood type; Leela also knew that when she (Leela) got hit on the head and knocked out, the Professor was giddy with joy at the chance of harvesting her organs.  Sometimes Amy's naivety irritated Leela but most of the time Leela wished that she could be as optomistic as Amy always seemed to be.

Taking a slow deep breath before replying, Leela said "Amy, I didn't 'wuss-out'.  I'm the captain, the health and welfare of the crew is my responsibilty.  It's one thing to risk my life, but I don't have the moral authority to risk anybody else's life.  It's not my place to accept a mission that would endanger you, Bender or Fry.  The mission that the Professor wanted us to go on was too dangerous in my eye, so I stood up to him and refused to accept it.  I know that if I accepted it, Bender and Fry would have gone because they trust me to make the correct decision; I will not do anything to endanger that trust.  When the space bee stung me, it almost killed me, but even worse, it almost killed Fry - if somebody else were to die because of a bad decison that I made, I couldn't live with myself.  I hope that you understand that."

"Gee Leela, I'm sorry.  I never meant to make it sound like you're scared - Lord knows you're the only person that I look up to.  You're not scared of anything!  You're the 'Total Package'; you're strong, you know how to fight, you can think your way out of any situation. You have more self-pride and self-confidence than anybody that I have ever known.  I wish that I was more like you."

Leela relented and smiled at the young engineer.  Putting her arm around the shoulder of Amy, Leela said, "Hey Amy, you've been up working all night, let's go to the kitchen and have some coffee.  I'm sorry about being curt - I'm still working on controlling my emotions.  Besides, if you're still installing that cloak and can't get the ship working, then maybe we can get another day off."

Smiling back and enjoying the show of affection that Leela was showing her, Amy responded "Well, if I push myself, I can have the ship operational in 2 hours, but you know, I've been up over 20 hours now, so after coffee with you, I think that I'll tell Hermes that I'm going home to get some sleep and I'll come back this afternoon to finish the job.  That way the ship will be ready to launch at 7:30 AM tomorrow."

"Thanks, Amy.  You know, if I had a sister, I'd like for her to be just like you."

Her chest swelling with pride from the unforseen compliment, Amy gushed "Gee Leela, you've been so different lately - don't take this personally, but you're not as moody as you use to be, and well, you're nicer."

'Amy, I almost died.  I have spent my entire life being afraid of dying alone, but I'm not alone, I just didn't see it until I woke up from the coma.  All of you came to visit me; Fry stayed by my side even though he was critically injured.  Truth to tell, I'm responsible for a lot of my own loneliness - I'm lucky that Fry didn't give up on me a long time ago - there have been times that I've been so mean to him.  The same with you, I've used my size and personality to intimidate you in the past.  I'm sorry."  Leela said as she looked down at the floor as she and Amy walked towards the kitchen.

"Leela, that's sweet!  Don't be ashamed, be happy that you're coming to terms with yourself.  You're too beautiful of a woman to be alone - that eye-thing doesn't matter to any of us.  Once we got to know you, we didn't even pay attention to the fact that you're a cyclops.  Besides, I have something to tell you."

"What's that?" Leela asked as they entered the kitchen and Leela reached for the pot of 'Extra-Chunky Chicken Flavored' coffee.

"Fry was really upset that he wasn't able to save your from the space bee, and he was too injured to get you to safety, so it was Bender that flew the two of you to safety and to the hospital.  Fry was really concerned that if Bender was in a different mode that neither one of you would have gotten medical assistance in time, and you both would have died.  Fry came to me with this concern, so one night when Bender was offline, I rewrote his 'Patriotism subroutine' - Bender is now reprogrammed to protect you no matter the circumstance.  If your life is in danger, he is to protect you, even if it places him in danger.  If you're injured, he is to get you medical assistance immediately."  Amy told Leela with a smile of self-satifaction.

Leela frowned upon hearing this.  "Amy, that's not right - to reprogram Bender without his knowledge.  I don't think that I'm so fragile that I need protecting..."

"Leela, Bender's a robot!  He's made of metal, he's a lot stronger than you, he doesn't need oxygen.  It was his patriotism circuit that I altered, so he has the same personality.  Don't be mad!  Fry and I know you're the last person to ask for help and that you'll risk yourself for any of us.  Sometimes, you need some help.  That's the only reason that we changed Bender's patriotism circuit.  Just look at it this way; instead of risking himself for some strangers in the DOOP, he'll risk himself for a dear friend."

"OK, OK, I understand.  That doesn't mean that I have to like it.  At least now I don't have to worry about him enslaving me to build a monument to him again."  Leela replied.  "Oh, why is Hermes in such a good mood?  Is he going to fire somebody today?"  Leela asked to change the subject.

"Oh, well, prepare to be pissed-off.  It seems that when the Professor gave you the day off yesterday, you didn't stop by and let Hermes know, so he has a technicality that he doesn't have to pay any of you for yesterday afternoon."  Amy replied

Leela sighed.  Money was always tight - PE didn't pay as much as her old Fate Assignment Bureau job, and she and Fry spent a good deal of money the night before on drinks and food.  She would just have to brownbag lunches for the rest of the week.

"Well, I'm going to tell Hermes that the ship won't fly until tomorrow.  Wait a few minutes and then see him - maybe you can get the day off, with pay.  I think that I'll give Kif a call before I turn in.  He's been kinda under a lot of stress lately; he says that Zapp has been more irrational than usual." Amy said as she finished her cup of coffee.

Leela snorted when she heard the name 'Zapp'.  Even though she was undergoing therepy to work out her feelings and emotions, Zapp Brannigan held a place of contempt in her heart that nobody else could ever hope to achieve.  Zapp used her feelings against her to have sex with her, then had the audacity to videorecord the encounter and place it on his website.  There was even a videodisc of it floating around named 'Zapped!'.  Even the mutants in the sewers knew about the encounter.  Zapp Brannigan was the one person in the universe that Leela would gladly, and effortlessly, kill if she could get away with it.  He had caused her so much embarrassment and heartache over the years, and to make things even worse, he carried a torch for her - constantly calling her asking for dates.  She changed her thoughts before 'Zapp' ruined a potentially good day.

Leela went to her office and worked on her logbooks for 45 minutes, then went to Hermes office.  Hermes wasn't as joyful as earlier, but he wasn't unpleasant.  "Ah, Leela.  De ship won't fly today, so you, Fry and Bender clean de office and de hangar bay, then take de rest of de day off.  Jus' be here on time in de mornin', we gots some big deliveries lined up."

"So do we get paid for having part of today off?  Amy told me about us not getting paid for yesterday, and we really can't afford to take these bites out of our paychecks." Leela explained to Hermes.

Hermes winced as she spoke.  "Actually, all of you get paid for yesterday.  It seems that de only way de ship could fly tomorrow is if you get your full pay.  Amy said that it had something to do with her coming back in tonight to finish fixin' de ship.  The little hussy, blackmailin' ME like dat!"  Hermes spoke with contempt in his voice.

"Well, I owe Amy a big one."  Leela thought as she walked out of Hermes office.  Amy was rich and didn't need the job, but she knew that Fry and Leela lived hand to mouth.  That was Amy's way of thanking Leela for the sisterly conversation earlier that morning.

At 9:00 AM, Fry and Bender walked into the PE building - only 30 minutes late for work.  Leela had already cleaned most of the office; she explained the details of getting another day off - AFTER some house cleaning was done.  Of course Bender grumbled about having to clean the hangar bay, but Fry was very enthusiastic about the chance of spending another afternoon with Leela.

At noon, the trio left PE after checking in with Hermes.  Bender went his way, Fry and Leela stopped by a McPlutos for a couple of slugburgers.  Sitting in a booth, they ate in silence until Leela decided to ask Fry a question.

"Fry, I think that you're being a little overprotective of me.   Amy told me about the two of you reprogramming Bender to be my bodyguard.  Do you think that I'm so weak as to need to be protected?"

Fry stopped chewing for a moment, then he look for the right words to say - knowing that if he said the wrong thing it would trigger the purple-haired cyclop's infamous temper.  Things had been going so well between them that he didn't want to damage the budding relationship.

"Uh, Leela, I don't think that at all.  Amy and I agree that you're the strongest, toughest person that we know, but you still almost died from the bee sting, and I couldn't help you.  Also when you almost married Alkazar, I was in the dungeon in the basement, so I couldn't help you if I wanted to, but Bender was free.  I love you Leela, and it's my responsibility as your friend to be sure that you're safe at all times.  Even Turanga Leela has weaknesses, and she needs help sometimes."

Leela responded "Thank you for caring Fry, but it was wrong to reprogram Bender without..."

Fry interupted "It was Bender's idea!"

Leela's eye widened as she almost choked on her burger "WHAT?"

"It was Bender's idea.  After he deafened you with the airhorn that the Robot Devil gave him, he realized how much that you mean to him.  This was something he wanted to do to make up for hurting you so many times.  He knows that he hurt you by flushing Nibbler, by enslaving us, by trying to kill you when he was the Werecar.  We don't think that you're weak, but we do think that you are too proud to ask for help when you need it.  Leela, you're family to us, and we want to keep you around as long as we can.  We have dangerous jobs, and you're our captain, so in a way you have the most dangerous job.  Please don't get upset because we want to make sure that you're as safe as possible."  Fry explained with a pleading look in his eyes.

Leela looked down so that Fry wouldn't see the tears welling up behind her eye.  "That's so sweet.  I don't deserve friends like you, but I guess that I'm stuck with you and Bender."  Looking up and meeting Fry's eyes, she continued, "What do you say we catch a Blermsball game this afternoon and then rent a movie and watch it at my place tonight?"

Fry was stunned!  This was the first time since the worms incident that she had invited him to her apartment.  Fry sputtered "Yea... yeah!  I'd like that!  A lot!"

"OK, and by the way Fry, this is a REAL date, not a get-together."  Leela said seductively.

Phillip J. Fry felt like he had just died and gone to heaven.


------------------
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #1 on: 10-18-2005 20:23 »

very very good Snart.  I cant wait to see where this goes!
Venus

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #2 on: 10-18-2005 20:31 »

The only thing i don't like about it is that you seem to have solved everyones relationship problems. The basic premise of the show was a bunch of flawed people trying to interact with each other. But now you have everyone completely open with each other and all personal differences solved, you have the hollywood happy ending happening at the begining. 
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #3 on: 10-18-2005 20:49 »

It's a different type of story.  I've gone shippy in the beginning so that Leela will have a reason to live for vengence. Think of 'Death Wish' staring Turanga Leela instead of Charles Bronson. It won't be for everyone, so I won't blame you for hating the story (or for hating me for writing it).

Leela is going to have everything in her grasp, then lose it all.  Her new ally, Michael Hayes is going to be the most unique Futurama character of all time.  David Lee Roth will look like a choirboy next to this guy (the long flowing blond hair being a Roth characteristic).

Leela is still a flawed human being - we will see more flaws as the story progresses.

I'll be the Yin to your Yang.  You're a shipper (and I love that - I love your story.  I even used a few points about the space bee sting coma lasting 16 days instead of 2 weeks as an homage to your fantastic piece of work); but my story is going to be kinda of an anti-shipper fic.

Thanks for the comments, compliments and critisims.
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #4 on: 10-19-2005 09:16 »
« Last Edit on: 10-25-2005 00:00 »

OK, I'm not a good patient.  I'm suppose to be taking it easy and getting plenty of rest the next couple of weeks.  Instead, I slave over a hot filthy computer to bring you ...

Part 2

Desire For Vengeance
Part 2 - Can You hear Me Now?
------------------------
The stranger returned little over an hour later, and he bought another person with him. "It must be the doctor that he mentioned" Leela thought. She took the time to study the strangers that had risked their safety, freedom and lives by traveling the sewers searching for her. The man who she had seen an hour earlier was a large man, obviously accustomed to being in charge -  when he made eye contact, it was almost like he was staring into your soul. His clothing was also interesting:  He carried a black briefcase in his left hand. He wore leather boots, black denim pants, a black shirt that was covered with a black leather jacket, even his hands were covered with black fingerless gloves. She saw nothing that made her consider any type of law enforcement or government agency.  She saw a bulge under his left arm, suggesting he carried some type of handgun in a shoulder holster; this really didn't surprise her - only a unsuspecting fool would travel parts of the sewer system unarmed. This suggested that he was right handed - she was used to sizing up situations and people, just in case she might need to fight her way out of another bad situation. Upon further observation, she noticed that he moved with a certain fluid grace, so not only was he strong, he had a good sense of balance. She quickly  concluded that because of her deafness, her poor depth perception and and the fact that she had not worked out in almost two months, she would have very little chance of defeating him in a fight - if it came to that.

His partner was a different story. She was slightly shorter than Leela, maybe five-foot-five, and appeared to weigh a little less, perhaps a hundred-fifty pounds. She looked sixty-ish, and wore short brunette hair streaked with gray "Whoa, get a dye job!" Leela thought. The woman appeared to be in good shape for her age, but she didn't strike Leela as a very physical-type person, her face held no expression, her eyes didn't seem to stay in one place at any time; she carried a large black bag. She was dressed differently than the blond-maned man - she wore boots, brown pants, a red turtleneck shirt covered by a black trench coat. She also had a suspicious bulge under her right arm - she was probably also armed, and was evidently left-handed.

Hayes walked towards Leela and motioned for her to sit on the couch. As Leela sat down, she was self-conscious of the oversized T-shirt that Fry bought for her at the Beastie Boys concert she was wearing as a nightgown as he was getting his clipboard out of his briefcase.  He sat next to her and started writing. As he wrote, she noticed the doctor was getting some instruments out of her bag. Hayes stopped writing and handed the clipboard to Leela. She read it and her throat tightened as she read the note.

LEELA, THIS IS DR. KATE MILLER, SHE'S MY PERSONAL PHYSICIAN. IF ANYBODY CAN HELP YOU, SHE CAN. PLEASE LET HER EXAMINE YOU. IF SHE CAN HELP YOU, SHE WILL. AFTER THIS IS DONE, I NEED TO SPEAK WITH YOU. I NEED YOUR HELP, AND YOU NEED MINE. DO YOU AGREE TO LET DR. MILLER HELP YOU?

Leela reluctantly nodded her consent.  Leela was the end of her rope and was hanging to her last shreds of sanity by her fingernails:  Being a cyclops, she had always had problems with depth perception, but losing her hearing was drivng her insane.  She couldn't communicate with the outside world; her mother could read, but her dad was illiterate and couldn't write her notes.  She had been almost totally isolated for two months; the prospect of regaining her hearing was worth the danger that she may place herself in by trusting these strangers; still, old habits die hard and Leela wasn't one to trust people; she felt very apprehensive about allowing them to do whatever they had planned. She noticed that Dr. Miller was talking to her parents, and that Munda was showing Dr. Miller the room that Leela was staying in. Dr. Miller carried her bag into the room; she came out a moment later and motioned for Leela to follow her. Leela felt helpless - she was trusting total strangers, something that went completely against her nature. Still, if they wanted to harm her, the large man could have easily done so already; her father and mother were elderly and posed no threat to the man, and being armed, he could have easily killed the entire family without difficulty.  She relaxed as she was led to her bed and Dr. Miller motioned for her to lie down. Leela lay on her back, she saw Dr. Miller waving medical instruments over Leela's head. "Damned, this woman never changes her expression"  Leela thought, so Leela couldn't tell if things were going well or not. Leela decided to stare at the ceiling during the examination. After a few minutes, Leela felt a pressure on her neck. She looked over at Dr. Miller with shock - the bitch had injected her with something using a hypo-spray! Leela was about to jump out of bed and start kicking the woman's ass, but as she started to climb out of bed,  her vision started to fade as she lapsed into unconsciousness...
-----------------
Leela woke slowly. Her arms and legs seemed heavy; her tongue felt thick in her mouth, and she could feel her heart beating through the headache at her temples. Her muscles faltered doing what her mind wanted. With great effort, she pried her eye open. The universe was a smeared gray mass.  And there was another odd sensation… the impression of words but… different.

"... could you help her..."
"... explosive-decompression damage..."
"... she'll be OK, I repaired the...."
"... she needs rest, the sedative..."
"... thank you for helping our daughter!"

"Oh," thought Leela, "My," and "GOD! I can hear!"

The smeared gray universe slowly formed the blurred shapes of four people. Leela's eye looked back and forth trying to match the voices to the shapes.  She heard her mother asking, "Is she going to be OK?  Will she hear again?  Leela, can you hear me?"

"It's OK mom. I'm OK. I can hear. I can hear!" Leela said as she started crying. The emotion of regaining her hearing came crashing down on her. She was no longer deaf, and she could now start planning on saving Amy. If only she wasn't so groggy, every movement was difficult, she had no strength, no sense of balance. As she tried to move, she heard a voice and felt a pair of hands on her shoulders.

"Don't try to move, the sedative is wearing off, but you'll be in no condition to move for a few hours. Just lay back and relax.  I'll be by your side until you can get up."  Leela looked up and saw that it was Dr. Miller restraining her and speaking to her.  Dr. Miller's voice was cold and clinical - no hint of emotion was to be seen or heard from this woman.

"Wokay, I’ll re-laksh." Leela slurred as darkness started to engulf her again. "And thanks for..."

"Let's step out and let Dr. Miller finish her job." A voice with a thick Southern United States accent said as she drifted off to dreamland.

----------------
Leela awoke with a start. She heard her parents in the next room. She didn't know the voice that was speaking to them, but she assumed that it was Hayes.  Leela listened to Hayes, noticing the words he used, and the way he spoke. She realized he must be well educated. His accent was strong; she thought he must be from the deep-South.  As she started to move, she heard another voice, this one in the room with her.

"Ah. Awake, at last?  “You’re quite a fighter; I had to use a lot of anesthesia on you?”  How do you feel?"

Looking to her right, she saw Dr. Miller. As Leela started to sit up, Dr. Miller assisted her to a sitting position. Leela groaned as she sat up.

"Damn!  I have a headache. You cured me. Thank you."  Leela said in a flat monotone.  Her voice sound familiar and strange at the same time; after two months of deafness, she had forgotten how her voice sound.

"Post anesthesia hangover. Very common. I've got something for that." Dr. Miller stated as she adjusted her hypo-spray. With one fluid motion, she gave Leela another injection in her neck. Within a minute, the headache started subsiding. About that time, her parents and Hayes came into the room.

"Leela! The doctor says that the surgery was a success and that you're going to be OK. Isn't that great?" Munda yelled loudly as she sat on the bed beside Leela and wrapped a tentacle around her.  To Munda's horror she felt Leela cringing in her grip.  Speaking in a lower voice, Munda said "I'm sorry, honey.  I didn't mean to yell in your ear."

"It's OK." Leela replied. "Mom, you know that I can't stay here - I've got to get out of the sewers and find Amy. Now that I can hear, there's no reason that I can't get the PE ship and search for her..."

"Leela, we almost lost you, and we can't stand the idea of losing you again. Please, let other people do this. Stay with us." Munda started to plead with Leela.  Morris and Munda lost her once when they gave her up to the Orphanarium: Again, almost, to the Space-bee sting, and to the latest of Leela's adventures with Planet Express that deafened her.  The though of her daughter being injured again was enough to drive her to insanity.

Sighing, Leela looked at her mother with a sad look in her eye, "Mom, I  HAVE to do this. I'm Amy's only hope. And I have to get the FILTHY BASTARDS who killed Fry and Bender. I can't help myself - this is SOMETHING THAT I HAVE TO DO!"  Feeling Munda stiffen and grasping her harder as the hard edge to her voice was mixed with her profanity, she spoke with a lower voice mixed with compassion and resignation, "Mom, I'm sorry.  It's who I am, and this is something that I HAVE to do."

Looking down at the floor, Munda replied "I know. But that doesn't mean that your father and I don't want you to change your mind. Your friends are dead, what good is risking your life for revenge? It won't bring them back."

Looking at the floor and speaking in a very low tone Leela reponded to her mother "Mom, Amy's still alive as far as I know, and it's my fault that she was captured."  Looking up and staring blankly at the wall and her voice volume rising, she continued, "I was the Captain of the mission.  It's was my responsibility to bring everybody home safe.  I screwed up.  Fry, Bender and Amy paid for my mistakes."

Turning to Munda and grabbing her by her shoulders, Leela looked her mother in the eye as she continued in a pained voice, "I don't expect you and dad to understand; please forgive me for causing you pain, but Amy's my friend and she needs help.  Bender was my friend, and Fry... Fry was more than just a friend.  I let them down, so if avenging their deaths is all that I CAN do, then it's what I WILL do."

"If you're up to talking to me, I'd like to go somewhere private and speak with you. Alone." the southern drawl drifted across the room.

Leela looked him in the eyes. "Yeah, OK. I owe you that much."

-------------------------
After Leela had dressed in her usual outfit of black construction boots, black spandex pants and white tank top shirt, she and Hayes walked through the sewers until they reached Lake Mutagenic. They sat down on a bench near the pond.  Leela realized that her pants tighter were than usual - the lack of exercise and change of diet had caused her to gain weight over the past two months, something that whe would have to take care of soon.

"OK, what do you want from me." Leela asked.

"Nothing"  Hayes said.  Every bullshit detector that Leela possessed was alarming now. "Except"  {"and now the sales pitch" Leela thought}  "To offer you a chance for something that you want more than anything."

Staring ahead, Leela stated, "The only things that I want now are to find Amy and bring her home. Then I want my friends' killers."  Leela spoke in a cold, distant voice.  She was trying her hardest not to let any emotion filter into her voice.

"I can help you with both. We have common interests, common friends," a small hesitation in his voice "And common foes." Hayes responded.

Her voice barely a whisper, Leela said, "I have no friends. Amy is a slave somewhere.  My... boyfriend," Leela choked on the word "Was slaughtered  in front of me trying to rescue me. My other friend,  Bender, was destroyed for saving me from being kidnapped."  Even all the enormous self-control of one Taranga Leela wasn't able to prevent a tear from trickling down her cheek.

"You do have one friend left. He's the one who sent me. Captain Kif Kroker of The Nimbus." Hayes replied.

Turning her head to stared at Hayes. "Kif sent you? Why?"

With a strong voice, Hayes stated, "We all have one thing in common: Zapp Brannigan. He's the reason that your friends are dead. He's the reason that Amy Wong is a slave. He's the reason that my wife is dead. Kif wants Amy back as much as you do, but he's a DOOP Captain so his hands are tied. You and I have no official connections to any Government organizations, so we can operate with more, um, latitude."

"You're a mercenary?"  Leela asked, not able to disguise the comtempt in her voice.

Ignoring Leela's tone, Hayes continued, "Yes. I used to be a DOOP captain, but after letting Brannigan do his damage and the DOOP not wanting his head on a platter, I resigned. Brannigan has made enough enemies that I have no problems getting financing or staffing to pursue him. I need a pilot, and Kif says that you're one of the best." Hayes tone changed to the authoritarian attitude that Leela had earlier noticed.  "Besides, I can offer you something nobody else can?"

"What's that?" Leela asked.

"Revenge." Hayes hissed coldly.  Staring at Leela for a few long seconds, he asked, "Are you in?"

"Hell yes!"  Leela answered as coldly

This has been re-written and flows better, thanks to my beta, Spacecase.
------------------
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #5 on: 10-19-2005 11:55 »

Ralphie!
You double-posting dawg you!  wink
You posted part two before I've even finished with part one!
Gawd, I wish I could write well as quickly...   frown

It's different but keep it coming.

Hopefully I'll be sending you an e-mail in the wee hours tonight.

Later...
Ol´coot

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #6 on: 10-21-2005 13:12 »

Liking it Ralph! Just the prospect of the Zipp getting his makes me all warm and fuzzy! Leela would make such a good avenging angel!!  evil laugh

Set ye Zapp in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten and die.

II Yosemite 11:15
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #7 on: 10-21-2005 13:31 »

Man, I didn't realize how much my spelling and sentence structure sucked until Spacecase beta'ed it and sent me the corrected copy.  All new chapters will go through her first and be correct before they get posted.

Thanks for the comments.  Zapp will have an universe of hurt coming his way - he'll wish that a space bee had stung him after Leela has her way with him (No, not THAT way with him).
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #8 on: 10-21-2005 14:49 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Ralph Snart:
Man, I didn't realize how much my spelling and sentence structure sucked until Spacecase beta'ed it and sent me the corrected copy.  All new chapters will go through her first and be correct before they get posted.

You give me too much credit.
I've really gotta' work on that blush reflex...

Meh, It happens to the best of us. I merely "calls'em as I sees'em." It's that nasty anal streak in me...

I received your e-mails, and I'm A-A-L-L-L-L-L OVER it...   big grin

Be well...
  wink
NIC2001

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #9 on: 10-21-2005 17:07 »

Wow Ralph that was really good!

The alt. reality that you created is great!

Can't wait to read more of it!

Keep it up.
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #10 on: 10-21-2005 19:54 »

yeah, just what NIC said!
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #11 on: 10-24-2005 20:05 »

Part 2 has been re-written and edited.  Reread it and it flows better.

All glory to Spacecase!

Okay you cunts, let's see what you can do now.
Venus

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #12 on: 10-24-2005 20:55 »

Isn't Spacecase the best beta ever?
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #13 on: 10-24-2005 21:59 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Venus:
Isn't Spacecase the best beta ever?

Yes she is.

She's a pretty damned good person, if her e-mails are any indication of her character.

BTW, congrats on not becoming crab bait.

Okay you cunts, let's see what you can do now.
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #14 on: 10-25-2005 00:36 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Venus:
Isn't Spacecase the best beta ever?
<Squirms> Aww, gee...  love 
Quote
Originally posted by Ralph Snart:She's a pretty damned good person, if her e-mails are any indication of her character.
  love <Bites lip>
Well, um, Thank you, both... I'm glad you find my scribbled ramblings useful. But don't give me too much praise; you two are doing the 'heavy lifting' - That is, actually writing your stories. Geeze - Now they're ganging-up on me...
  wink
 
Quote
Originally posted by Ralph Snart:BTW, congrats on not becoming crab bait.
Abso-FREAKIN'-lutely!
Not that I can do a thing about it, Venus, but I hope you endured 'Wilma' with no damage.

To drag my own post back on-topic;
Ralph, I've not yet had the chance to read your Part Deux revision, but it's high on my priority list.
Wow!
I e-mailed you this morning, and when I crawled out of my coffin this evening, you've already revised and reposted!
Friend, when do you sleep?  confused
Now, if you'll excuse me, I must take my nightly ration of blood...
  roll eyes
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #15 on: 10-25-2005 01:58 »

Sleep?  Who needs sleep?  Sleep is for puny humans!
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #16 on: 10-25-2005 16:28 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Ralph Snart:
Sleep?  Who needs sleep?  Sleep is for puny humans!

... He says just before having a psychotic episode.  roll eyes
  wink
JBERGES

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #17 on: 10-25-2005 16:43 »

Wait... I'm confused.  Did I miss a large section of story somewhere between parts 1 and 2, or is everything supposed to be a mystery?
commie detector

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #18 on: 10-25-2005 17:03 »

maybe there is a part 1.5....
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #19 on: 10-25-2005 18:09 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by JBERGES:
Wait... I'm confused.  Did I miss a large section of story somewhere between parts 1 and 2, or is everything supposed to be a mystery?


Sorry, I'll do a 'Background Noise' and place dates and times at the beginning of each installment.  Part 1 starts with the intro, which is 'now', then flashbacks to three months earlier.  Part 2 picks at the at the'now'.  Part three will  be 'now', Part's 4 & 5 will flashback to go into detail how Leela's life semi-comes together and then falls apart - then part 6 forward will have no flashbacks.

Sorry about my confusing style.  Flashbacks work better on TV series.

Okay you cunts, let's see what you can do now.
JBERGES

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #20 on: 10-25-2005 18:59 »

*blinks*

OK, apparently I missed the setup in part one, and started reading at 'Good news everyone."  I doubt I'll ever discover why...
commie detector

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #21 on: 10-25-2005 19:03 »

As a wise tootsie pop expert once said...."the world may never know"

and I can't wait for the rest...well actually I can...well..you get the point...
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #22 on: 11-11-2005 01:54 »

A special thanks goes to the grueling job that Spacecase did beta'ing this story.  All Glory To Spacecase!

---------------------

Desire for Vengeance

Part 3 - Born Again

----New New York City Sewer, Mutant Town----

Leela and Hayes went back to her parents’ house. Leela pulled her parents aside and told them that she was going to leave for an unknown amount of time, but that she would come back. Hayes and Miller could tell that there was a lot of tension between Leela and her parents, so they walked outside so the family of mutants could have a few minutes alone.

Making small talk, Dr. Miller started with "You think that she'll work out? I mean, she is a mutant, and she doesn't have any military training. She did join for a short time as a man, but that just proves that she has doesn't have respect for military rules and regulations."

Staring at her Hayes angrily retorted, "Kate, I'm surprised at you. 'She's a mutant?', What does that mean? We deal with aliens everyday that look and smell a lot different than we do, and we have no problems interacting with them. At least this Turanga woman is human. The way that mutants are treated is appalling.  These are Human beings whose ancestors had the misfortune of having their genes screwed-up by exposure to toxic-wastes and radiation.  They should be getting Government assistance to help alleviate their suffering, not being treated like vermin."

"Sorry Mike, I didn't mean it to sound as tactless as it did. I guess when you're first exposed to something different..." Dr. Miller said as her eyes scanned the sewer that they were standing in. "Still she is a mutant, how do you think that the other crew members will accept her?"

Hayes sighed. "Welcome to the human race, Kate," in a resigned tone, with a hint of disgust. "We have a helluva history of fighting and discrimination. It doesn't take much to be treated badly; if you look different, have a different color skin, or worship a different God. The Jews were enslaved thousands of years ago, many Negroes were enslaved back in the stupid ages. We've had the Great Religious Wars: The Crusades of The Middle Ages, The Great Religious War of Oprahism against Voodoo a couple of centuries ago," Hayes' body language and voice becoming more animated as he continued. "Now, Humans don’t discriminate - Unless you're a Mutant, then all bets are off." He swept his arm as if to encompass the whole decrepit community, "Why should any human being be forced to live like this?  As for the rest of the crew accepting her, let's just say that I have a lot of faith in their being fair and giving her a chance.  Besides, she's already got one thing in common with the rest of the crew:  She wants Branningan's ass as badly as everybody else"

Before Dr. Miller had a chance to reply, Leela came out of her parents' home. She had a small duffel-bag; she was wearing her normal attire and was carrying her lime-green jacket under her left arm.

“Let’s go,” Leela told the duo waiting for her. Her voice sounding as if she were trying not to cry, her face was flushed and her eye was puffy - it was obvious her goodbye to her parents had been an emotionally traumatic one. Her body language suggested that nobody should ask her any questions about it.

Dr. Miller asked "Ms. Turanga is that all you're taking? This mission may take months."

Walking ahead of Dr. Miller avoiding eye contact Leela replied, "Yes. This is everything that I have."

Feeling ashamed for asking the question, Kate Miller realized that Leela had probably lost everything she owned when she was banished from the surface. Kate Miller had never thought about the mutants, but now, she knew that she would be having several personal conflicts about the poor treatment that mutants endured from the surface dwellers. "Damn, Mike's right - as high and mighty as members of the human race always tried to sound, they still treated others with discrimination if others seemed the least bit different," she thought with more than a little shame.

"Follow me," Hayes commanded as he stepped in front of Leela and Miller. They walked for about 10 minutes until they came to a ladder that led to a manhole cover - it was the one that Leela used to access Planet Express.

Hayes pulled a 2-way radio out of his jacket and spoke "Sewer rats to Alley cat, do you copy?"

A familiar voice came from the radio, "Ya, I copy. D’coast is cleah." Leela’s ears perked up at the lilting accent coming from the radio.

"Hermes?" She thought.

"OK, let's get the hell out of here," Hayes commanded as Leela started to climb the ladder towards the surface.

Leela's head popped out of the manhole, she looked around and saw a very nervous looking Hermes Conrad standing at the edge. She swallowed hard: She had expected never to see him again. He reached down and gave Leela a hand to get out of the sewer, then offered the same to Dr. Miller and Hayes as they exited the sewers. Hayes replaced the manhole cover and the foursome ran to the PE building. Once inside Hermes locked the door and activated the electronic gate.

Turning around, Hermes saw Leela looking at him. Hermes walked over to her, grabbed her in a bear-hug and said, "Girl, for Jah's sake it's great t'see you again!"

Shocked at first, and not expecting any show of emotion from Hermes, Leela slowly returned the hug.

"Thank you Hermes, it's good to be home again." Leela replied in a broken voice, secretly ashamed that she was crying, in front of Hermes, of all people.

They broke off the embrace, Hermes lead the way to the conference table in the hangar and sat down in his usual place. Hayes and Miller sat down as Leela took her usual chair and looked around - she had thought that she would never be in the PE building again. Looking around, she realized how much she missed her old coworkers. She expected to see Fry, Amy, Zoidberg and the Professor seated at the table. Instead her old friends were gone; only Hermes and two strangers sat with her. She stopped reminiscing when Hermes started to speak.

"Alright, Leela, here's what's goin' on. Planet Express is now closed, we're a front to apprehend Zapp Brannigan. The Planet Express ship is being used to transport cargo to d' starship that is chasing Brannigan's sorry carcass. You've met d'captain and doctor." Hermes motioned to Hayes and Miller.

"Hermes, if Planet Express is a front, how are you and the Professor making enough money to live on?"

"Easy. D' Professor sold some of his inventions and patents. Also Amy's parents, along wit' several other rich and influential people are funding us. Amy's parents are completely devastated by Amy's kidnapping - dey’ve sold some of their stock interest to partially finance this operation; dey want their daughter back, and dey'll do any’ting to get her back.  My job is to cook d' books and make it look legit. I'm also tryin' to get you a permanent surface-dweller permit, although I'm not being very successful with dat."

"Thanks for trying Hermes, but I don't have any reason to want to live on the surface. I want to find Amy and get her home, then I want Zapp, then I want to disappear and live my life without hassle or harassment," Leela said, her voice so cold that Hermes shuddered involuntarily.

"Easy woman, der'll be plenty of time for killin' and dismemberment. I'm givin' you dis briefing to let you know dat even though you've been out of de loop for de past two months, der’s plans afoot to bring you back. D' Professor knew dat he didn't have d' skill to restore your hearing, and he damned sure wasn't goin' to let dat filthy water-bug near you," Hermes lowered his voice and shook his head, "De ol' coot has gone mad. Losing Fry pushed him over de edge. De only thing that's been on his mind has been to get you out of the sewers and cure you. He knew dat if you could get your hearin' back and get you back into space, you'd make Fry's killers pay."

Leela spoke with a low voice, "You mean you and the Professor didn't forget about me? You were working on getting me medical treatment? I thought that once I was outed as a mutant that everybody washed their hands of me."

"Nah, woman. We'd never fa'sake ya, but we wa'bein watched by de police, and we were settin' up dis front, so we didn't dare make contact with you until everythin' was ready."

"Where's the Professor? I want to thank him before I leave, because I may not be coming back and if I do come back, I may be spending the rest of my life in the sewers or prison."

Hayes replied, "Professor Farnsworth is on my ship. He's assisting my engineering staff. The man may be ancient, but he has flashes of brilliance that words can't describe. He's swapped our power-plant for a dark-matter reactor, he's given us cloaking technology that even the DOOP doesn't have. We're going to need every advantage if we're going to be successful. I did have to draw the line at having a gargoyle on the bridge and a lion in engineering."

"Alright, let’s get to de ship, it's loaded and ready for takeoff," Hermes said as he got out of his chair.

The foursome boarded the PE ship.  Upon entering the bridge Leela was going to take the helm but Hermes beat her to the Captain's chair. Reluctantly, Leela took the seat at the Engineer's station and strapped herself in. The familiar whine of the engines spooling up for a full power take-off was music to her ears; the first smile in two months crossed her face.

Within two minutes, the PE ship had launched and was en route to Mars where Captain Hayes ship was docked.

Hermes spoke to the air, "Leela, dere's something waiting for you in your cabin. You're still considered to be d' Planet Express Captain, so you know where it is."

Silently getting up and walking to her old cabin, Leela entered as the door slid open. On the bed was a box; on the box the words 'Memories Of Fry' were written in her handwriting. Next to the box was Fry's holophoner and the picture of Fry that she once kept on her nightstand. She sat down on the bed and slowly started tracing her fingers around the box. She thought that she had lost everything. Somebody had saved her most precious possessions.

She looked up as she heard a noise at the door. It was Hermes. "When d' police came to get you after finding out dat you were a mutant, I sent Scruffy to your place to get what he could. He was too late, most of your furniture had been taken. All dat was left was a wall videophone, a chair and your bedroom set. Scruffy grabbed your clothes, dat box, picture, and Nibbler. Dwight and Cubert went to Fry's place to get his holophoner. I'm sorry, but it was the best dat we could do."

Looking at Hermes with tears streaming down her face, Leela didn't have the courage to tell him that what Scruffy saw in her apartment was everything she owned. She just cried, clutching Fry's holophoner in her hands.

----------------------

Half an hour later, a calm, collected, Leela walked onto the bridge . Through the windshield she could see that the ship was rapidly approaching Mars. She took a seat at the Engineer's station, sitting next to Hermes who was back at the helm.

"Ah’ y’holdin’ up alright?" Hermes whispered to Leela.

Leela nodded her head, "Yeah. Thanks for saving my stuff, I won't forget it."

After a few minutes, Leela asked Hermes with a quiet voice "Why?"

"Why what?" Hermes asked back.

"Why did you save my stuff? Why are you risking your career helping me?  I always had the impression that you didn't think very much of me," Leela asked in a neutral tone.

Sighing and dropping his head to avoid eye contact with Leela, he spoke in an embarrassed tone, "I may be a Bureaucrat, but I'm also a human being wit' a wife and child. D' way that you were treated by the police made me sick. I can't change d' world, but maybe I can help you get a new life someplace where you'll be treated fairly."

Leela made no comment, but she was moved by Hermes's show of human compassion.

"Where's Nibbler?" Leela asked trying her best not to choke up.

"Ah, d' little rat's been stayin' at me'house. Dwight and Cubert have been takin' care of him. Lord woman, how'd you afford t' feed him? Anyway, d' Captain says dat you can keep him on de ship - I'll bring him on the next run," Hermes replied.

It was strange to be on the PE ship and not be at the helm. Hermes seemed to be doing a good job of piloting the ship, but it was still HER ship in her eye. Well, soon enough she would be piloting another ship; she would be embarking on the most life-altering voyage of her life. In the short time since she regained her hearing, she had made peace with herself.  The old Leela was back - the Leela that lived for violence, the Leela that lived life by her wits, the Leela that expected the worst from people. That was the Leela that she needed to be again to survive. None of this touchy-feely, let's-be-friends crap. If she survived, then maybe she would try to become ‘Nice Leela’ again, just to be on good terms with her parents - she didn't owe the world anything else. Right now, she needed to deal with the fact that she wasn't going to be the Captain, but a subordinate on a larger ship. That was OK, she'd team up with Beelze-bot to save Amy, and she'd give her hand in marriage to the same Beelze-bot if it meant a chance of exacting revenge on Zapp Brannigan and his accomplices for their part in Fry and Bender's deaths.  Besides, this Captain Michael Hayes was different; he didn’t seem to care about didn't care about trying to impress her with rank - she didn't find out that he was the ship's captain until Hermes told her. He didn't seem to live by other society-induced values; his long golden hair showed that he was not a typical DOOP automaton and she heard part of his conversation with the doctor outside of her parents home. He was disgusted by the treatment that mutants endured - he even called her human (one of the few times that she took it to be a compliment), something that she was no longer legally classified as. On gut instinct, she felt that she could trust him, and that they would make a good team. Besides, he seemed to want vengeance also, none of this turn-the-other-cheek crap for him; she would have to sit down with him and get his story, and why he wanted Zapp as badly as she did.

Leela saw that Hermes was entering a high orbit around Mars; obviously he wasn't planning to land there. For some reason, she thought that maybe they were going to visit Amy's parents - it really didn't hurt her feelings not to see them - the Wongs were two of the vainest, pettiest, most shallow, mean-spirited people that she had ever met. Still, Amy was their daughter and Amy was Leela's friend. Leela's resolve returned as she thought, "Humphh! They probably blame me for what happened.

"Planet Express ship to Galaga, d' ya copy?" Leela heard Hermes speaking into his headset mic. "Preparing to enter intercept course, request permission t' land in hangar bay. ETA 5.3 minutes. Over. OK people, we land in five minutes."

Leela watched as the ship entered a lower orbit and flew into the planets' shadow; they were now on the dark side. The PE ship sped past the moon Phobos and started to close in on a speck that was rapidly getting larger. She knew that the Wongs owned a spacedock and wondered if this was it. These were large enough to accommodate all but the largest ships like the Nimbus; this spacedock was also a closed unit - prying eyes couldn’t see the goings-on, inside. The people planning Zapp's pursuit were professionals all the way.

As the spacedock loomed ahead, the doors opened, giving Leela her first look at the Galaga. It was not a small ship; roughly half the size of the Nimbus, with twin engine pods mounted aft. The hull was a graceful curve peppered with weapon ports. The Galaga was built for three things; speed, agility, and firepower. Lots of firepower. It hung in the spacedock like a slumbering predator. Leela wasn’t easily impressed by weaponry, but this ship had a… something; an obdurate grace; a wicked elegance. It made her hair stand on end. She sensed a presence to her right. Captain Hayes stood there with a smile on his face, and folded arms.

Hayes started speaking while admiring the view that they were closing on. "Beautiful, isn't she?" his tone much like a child's wonderment. "Professor Farnsworth has managed to get her to 98% light-speed.  Only a Nimbus class starship has more firepower. Her shields are the strongest known to DOOP science, but she’s a touchy beast to control.  You're going to have your hands full flying her." Looking down at Leela he asked, "Are you up to the job?"

Staring ahead and admiring the ship also, the same tone of wonderment in her voice, "Damned right I am."

----------------------

Hermes landed the ship without incident. Dr. Miller left the ship first - the PE ship was carrying medical supplies for her sickbay, and she wanted to supervise the unloading and transfer of the cargo. Hermes grabbed a briefcase with various forms for Farnsworth to sign, and left the ship to go find the Professor.

"So, what now?" Leela asked.

"Well, I'll help you move your belongings to your new quarters. All command-staff have private rooms and stay on Deck One, just under the bridge. You're not military, but then we're not in the military. All bridge crew on my ship are command level. Your rank is Lieutenant and your position is helmsman. Also, you will spend one hour a day working on physical conditioning - that applies to all ship staff, including me. Our shifts are 8 hours, and all command-staff are required to do two 8 hour shifts monthly as Commanding Officer on the third watch. I don't care about any religious or cultural practices that members of the crew observe as long as they don't interfere with ships operations. Also leave any bigotry in your quarters, I won't tolerate it on my bridge."

Nodding her head in agreement to the terms, Leela asked, "So what do I call you?"

A big smile on his face, Hayes said, "On-duty I'm always 'Captain' or 'Sir', . Off duty, I'm Mike or Michael. I'm not big into military life, but we do have a chain of command and we do enforce it. We have floating poker games and we have a supply of booze on board. We also have a Holoshed that you can sign for up for one hour blocks of time. I suggest that you get to know the crew - everybody has to work together, so making friends makes trusting your crewmates much easier. Actually, consider that your first order."

"Yes Sir, I'm ready to move in. I'll get my stuff. The two of us should be able to move all my things in one trip, I don't have much."

"You won't need much; we have a replicator on board. You can have any clothes that you need by giving the quartermaster your specs. All of us are on a salary, so you will have spending money." Hayes noticed Leela's sudden defensive posture as he spoke. Quickly deducing that Leela was defensive about her meager possessions, he changed to a more sympathetic tone. "Leela, everybody on this ship has lost something; some people have lost everything important to them, so you're not alone there. I know most of these people personally - they're good people. Most of them are like you and me - they don't fit in mainstream society. All of us have suffered in some way. You have a great chance to have a home where people won't care about you being a mutant. They won't look at your eye anymore than they look at my hair."

"This morning I was deaf, now I can hear. I'm joining a crew of mercenaries I know nothing about, to rescue my friend who's God-knows-where. I'm supposed to fly a ship I've never laid my eye on, against unknown adversaries. I've never been treated like an equal anywhere except Planet Express. I'm a tad overwhelmed, and I'll… need a little time to sort things out."

"Understood. I like 'quiet time' myself. That's why I gave you private quarters. Kif told me that you would be leery of us to begin with and I understand why. Just give us a chance. You may be surprised to find out that you're not as alone as you think." Hayes countered.

"By the way Captain Hayes, most people
stare at my hair, not my eye," she said with a hint of a smile.  "Now you have some competition there."

"Kiddo, I think that you're going to fit in after all." Hayes said as he gave Leela a playful punch on her right arm as he followed her to her cabin.

-----------------

"Wow. It's nicer than I thought it would be!" Leela exclaimed as she walked into her new quarters, compartment 1-D.  It was almost the size of her old apartment;  the first thing that struck her was the view through a porthole the size of a large window.  Then she looked at the interior; a living area with a couch, one chair and a recliner, a large videoscreen on the wall.  Beyond another door was a bedroom; this room was smaller - what looked like a Queen sized bed sat in the center with a reading light over the bed and a small bedside table with a built-in clock; there was a small closet next to the head.  The head was small; just enough room for a toilet, shower stall and small vanity with sink. Her new quarters were actually nicer than her old apartment.

"Glad ya like it." Hayes replied, the thick southern accent returning with a vengeance,"  They’re standard command-staff quarters.  Only the C.O., X.O. and V.I.P. quarters are larger."

Leela looked around and nodded at the bed, as her hands were full. Hayes placed the box with her clothes on her bed, she was adamant that she was going to carry the box of 'Memories Of Fry' herself; she had placed the holophoner and Fry's picture in the box - everything from her old life was contained in that box, and she was going to guard it with her last breath.  She put her box on the bed, opened it, took Fry's picture out and placed  it on the bedside table.

Standing straight and looking Leela in the eye, Hayes 'command' voice came back. "Tonight is yours to do with as you please. Explore the ship, get to know the crew, speak to the Professor, contemplate your navel, or whatever. Tomorrow at oh-seven-hundred, you belong to us. The X.O. will have a schedule for your training at the helm. He will also have you set up with the Quartermaster to be fitted for your uniform. We plan to take the ship out later tonight for a dry run, so you'll feel the ship going through some maneuvers. We're still fine-tuning the gyros to compensate for the extra power that the Professor's modifications have given us. We damn-near tore the engines off the first time we went to full power."

"I understand. I'd really like to find the Professor; I have a lot to talk to him about. I need to tell him how his uncle Fry... died. We never had a chance to talk before I was arrested and expelled to the sewers. He deserves to know how brave Fry was, and I really want to thank him for not giving up on rescuing me," Leela said.

"Sure kid. All of us have implanted transponders, so just ask any computer interface where the desired person is, and it will tell you, complete with a map of the ship if you need it. The videoscreen doubles as a computer interface and communications array. We'll find him now." Raising his voice and looking at the videoscreen, he spoke, 'Computer show location of Professor Hubert Farnsworth."

"Professor Farnsworth is in his quarters, Deck One compartment BB," the computer responded, in a pleasant voice, and flashed directions on the videoscreen.

"If you want to visit him now, I'll show you; it's on the way to the bridge." Hayes said.

"Thanks. I’d better see him now, before I chicken out."

Hayes led the way with the cyclops walking by his side. "Leela, a word of warning; The Professor's been working hard for a month, with no time off, except to talk to Hermes. You probably know he's… cranky on a good day… Well, lately he hasn't had a lot of good days. He's turned this ship around; without him, we wouldn't have a chance in hell. He's been on my ass every day for a month to rescue you, so, I hope he's glad to see you.

Leela winced. She knew from experience how cantankerous the Professor could be. She was sure that he made Captain Hayes' life miserable until she was rescued. She found a knot in her stomach; how was she going to tell the old man the sequence of events that led to Fry's death, and that he was indirectly responsible?"

Her train of thought was derailed when she noticed they had stopped walking and she was looking at the door of quarters BB. Swallowing hard, she reached up and pressed the door buzzer button. She heard Captain Hayes speaking to her as he walked off. "Good luck. See ya later."

A irritated voice yelled from within the quarters. "IT'S OPEN! COME IN, DAMMIT!"

---------------------

Leela walked through the door into the quarters. The first thing that she noticed was that it was at least twice the size of her new quarters. She immediately saw why; there was a room full of computers and other equipment next to the living area. Farnsworth was in the workroom sitting at a desk, it appeared that he was working on some mathematical computations.

Without looking up, Farnsworth started yelling "DAMMIT, I TOLD YOU THAT I'D HAVE THIS SHIP TO 99% LIGHTSPEED BY 2100 TONIGHT! IT'S ONLY 1800! LEAVE ME ALONE DAMMIT!"

Her voice lower than she realized, Leela said "Professor..."

The old man froze in his work and slowly turned around. He looked up at Leela and slowly got up to his feet. Leela knew he was over 160 years old, but he looked so tired. He looked much older than the last time she saw him; actually, he looked like death warmed over. He slowly shuffled over to her, raising his hands as if to shake hers. Leela did the same, but the old man surprised her in slow motion; he gave her a hug. Leela returned the embrace, being oh-so-careful to not squeeze him too hard. He looked as fragile as a dry matchstick.

Taking a small step back, he released her, and looked her up and down. “Well it’s about damn time they rescued you!” He groused, “Now we can get this mission started!"

Releasing her from his embrace, the old man looked up at the ceiling and shook his fist at it. "Damn you! Bhudda. Zeus. God. You took Fry away, but you couldn't take Leela away. As long as I'm alive, you'll never take her away!"

The Professor's reaction scared Leela,  she shouted, "Professor! Calm down! Working yourself into a heart attack isn't going to make things better."  Granted he was cantankerous, but he appeared to be nose-diving past the fine line of genius into insanity.

Calming down, Farnsworth looked at Leela long and hard. "You've gained weight. How are you supposed to get even for Fry's death if you're not in shape?"

Sighing and sitting down in a chair, Leela started to speak. "Professor, I've been in the sewer for two months; there's no 'Gold's Gym' down there, and my diet consisted of whatever my parents could get for us:  Mutant Town doesn't have a grocery store with a health food section," a touch of bitter sarcasm creeping into her voice.  "I'll start working out tonight. My first priority is to rescue Amy;" her voice now becoming frigid, "then Fry's killers will answer to me."  Her voice now bereft of any human warmth, "Then Zapp Brannigan is mine."

The old man looked less enraged at life, the universe and everything than earlier. He looked down at the floor when he started speaking again. "I'm glad to see you Leela, and I... I would have rescued you even if you didn't want to go after Fry's killers. You're the daughter that I never had. You've always been so reliable - you always kept Fry from hurting himself and/or the crew, or gravely injuring somebody else, and kept Bender from stealing me blind.  I've told Hermes to set you up on another planet if he can't get you a surface dweller pass, and I've set aside a trust fund for you to live on.

“Professor-” Leela started to say.

But, Farnsworth cut her off. “I want you to tell me what happened. How did Fry die? Why did he die? How did you get so badly injured? Tell me everything."

"Sit down Professor. This will take awhile. It started a little over two months ago..."

Okay you cunts, let's see what you can do now.
Ol´coot

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #23 on: 11-11-2005 11:58 »

Loving it Ralph!!  big grin Leela's vengance is maturing and Zapp's time fouling the universe is diminishing....  smile

Ahhh the warm fuzziness of it!  evil laugh

Set ye Zapp in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten and die.

II Yosemite 11:15
soylentOrange

Urban Legend
***
« Reply #24 on: 11-11-2005 14:31 »

its a really good story Ralph, but Hermes and the Professor seem a bit out of character.  I just cant quite see Hermes cooking the books or Farnsworth thinking of Leela as his daughter-he-never-had.  Still, its well written and I'm lookng forward to the next bit!
Ralph Snart

Agent Provocateur
Near Death Star Inhabitant
DOOP Secretary
*
« Reply #25 on: 11-11-2005 15:10 »

Hermes saw somethng happen to Leela that opened his eyes and made him a little more human (coming up in two chapters); Farnsworth has his reasons - he's still a senile crackpot.

Stay tuned.

Okay you cunts, let's see what you can do now.
SpaceCase

Liquid Emperor
**
« Reply #26 on: 11-11-2005 15:41 »

 
Quote
Originally posted by Ralph Snart:
A special thanks goes to the grueling job that SpaceCase did beta'ing this story. All Glory To SpaceCase!
"Grueling?confused
If you mean I did a thorough job, you're welcome.
But it seems to me you're the one who has the 'grueling' part; you not only wrote the story in the first place, somehow you withstand my psychotic ranting draw something useful from my humble commentary.
 
Quote
All Glory To SpaceCase!
*PFT!*
Oh puh-leeze...  roll eyes
Darn blush reflex!

Ralph, please take this for the compliment it is intended as:
Your writing has only gotten better since I first laid an eye on it. And, beta or not, I can't take any credit for it.

All this ol'shipper can say is, "BRING IT ON BABY!love
What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment...
NIC2001

Starship Captain
****
« Reply #27 on: 11-11-2005 16:13 »

Ralph... That was so good!
Can't wait to see the Galaga in action.


Arkan

Bending Unit
***
« Reply #28 on: 11-12-2005 06:17 »
« Last Edit on: 11-12-2005 06:17 »

Great story Ralph! The part where Leela found the box of 'Memories of Fry' was very moving, and this sentence made me laugh:

 
Quote
Leela did the same, but the old man surprised her in slow motion; he gave her a hug.

I noticed a couple of minor mistakes, like:

 
Quote
he didn’t seem to care about didn't care about trying to impress her with rank

You've got an extra "didn't care about" in there.

Keep writing!   smile
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