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Author Topic: Stranger in A Strange Land  (Read 7372 times)
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La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« on: 03-17-2008 22:20 »
« Last Edit on: 12-21-2008 00:51 »

This is my first attempt at a fan fic. It's just the first installment of many to follow, enjoy.    big grin

(EDIT) I did something stupid! I forgot to put the summary at the start of this story! roll eyes

"An alternative to the Futurama series that picks up where Bender's Big Score would have come into the timeline, but follows a different story line. This saga begins 1,000 years in the future, much like "Space Pilot 3000" did where 30-year old David K. Murphy, an all around average guy, who while driving home one late, rainy summer night in 2008, has a collision with a temporal disturbance caused by malfunctioning matter transporter, a creation by our favorite Professor! Follow the unfolding adventure as Dave comes to terms with living 1,000 years in the future. Will he be able to go back to the 21st Century? How will he adjust to life in the 31st? What secrets will he discover about himself and his destiny? This is a saga full of adventure, drama, comedy, and just plain weird stuff! (incomplete)"

"Stranger In A Strange Land": Written By Torgo (AKA La Belle Leela)

(Date, 06/02/2008, 10:00pm - Location, Orlando FL)

Prologue: "Main Introduction"

   Dave is a 30 year old single man who has worked hard all his life, and struggled equally as hard to achieve. From a young age, Dave idolized his father, A retired Naval Aviator, who had flown over 200 combat missions in Vietnam, and had been an instructor at the Navy's Fighter Weapons School, better known as "Top Gun". Sadly, Dave's myopic eyesight derailed his dreams of folowing in his father's footsteps when he was of 10. Still, Dave knew he wanted a life in the aviation industry, be it military, or civilian. After High School, Dave enlisted in the US Navy to become a mechanic. Dave showed above-average talent to the watchful eyes of his instructors, he had enjoyed several years in the USAF cadet program, learning everything he could about the armed forces, he even learned how to fly! Shortly before finishing his Advanced Individual Training class, Dave was involved in a serious training accident which left him with a broken back, and a wounded soul. After a lengthy recovery, he was discharged, and his short service career was over. Having lost the opportunity to serve his country, Dave went back home to Florida, and enrolled in a aviation maintenance trade school, to hopefully get a maintenance job with his favorite airline. with what little funds he had received from The Navy. Dave had always been an intelligent person, but he never could hande failure well. He worked for a few years loading cargo aircraft, and some commercial aircraft fueling, but the pressure, and stress from dealing with his past, and what seemed to him a bleak future further drove him into a depressed condition. The last few years had been to hardest Dave had ever faced. He was still having an arduous time coping with the death of his father, whom he loved dearly, and his mother had taken a new position with her company on the other side of the world in Australia. Dave had moved around, working on maintenance contracts around the United States, and even some Dept of Defense work in England. His last 3 jobs ended in termination, not entirely his fault, but nonetheless made him even more depressed. Now he was having to find ways to get by in his financial crisis as well. Jobs were scarce in his city, and he had gone back to working as an aircraft fueler, but he was determined to tough it out, for he did not want to leave Florida and it's beautiful climate.

Part 1: "A New Beginning"

   It had been a rough day, "Geez, worst birthday ever!" exclaimed Dave, who had been working for nearly 3 months without a day off. It had rained hard all day, Dave's uniform was still damp when he clocked out after yet another 12 hour shift on the ramp at Orlando Int'l Airport. Dave sighed in disgust as he walked across the dimly lit parking lot towards one of the few things in life that made him happy, his truck. Dave's pride and joy was his 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 4x4 painted midnight blue with it's polished chrome grille, fenders, and nerf bars reflecting what little light that was shining on it. Dave exhaled exhaustedly as he climbed into his truck, then cursed in pain as he sat down. His back had been bothering him all week, and his lengthy work days only aggravated his old injuries. Dave sat in the parked truck, letting the engine warm, he cracked the throttle sharply twice, for he loved the sound of the Dodge's powerful hemispherical V8 engine roaring out of the tuned dual-exhaust. As he waited, he bowed his head in silent prayer, like he had done many nights before, asking God why he couldn't turn his life around, only this time his hands were shaking, his eyes were welling up, and a deep feeling of inner pain he had been repressing burned in his chest. At this point he lifted his head skyward, and begged for the strength to go on living, for a second chance at life!  Dave tried not to think about his inner turmoil as he drove home through the muggy darkness, he tried to forget about life for a while and put his mind eslewhere as he inserted Dream Theater's Octavarium CD in the stereo, and cranked the volume knob. He thought quietly to himself as he drove down the mostly deserted highway 528,  Dave glanced up a stupid theme park billboard, like he had probably done a million times before, but when he dropped his eyes back to the road, they were greeted with a brilliant explosion of blue light, brighter than lightning! Dave only had a split second to react, he instinctivly covered his face with his arms, and slammed on the brakes in a vain effort to prevent the big Dodge from hitting whatever the blue light was eminating from!

(Date, 06/02/3008, 10:00am - Location, New New York)

Part 2: "The Wormhole"

   "Good news everyone" shouted Farnsworth! The rest of the Planet Express employees sat gathered at the conference table waiting to hear about what crackpot invention the Professor had cooked up this time. "I've come up with an invention that allows us to send cargo to our deep-space customers, uh, but without me having to waste money on extra spaceship fuel, life support supplies, and overtime pay!" "But you don't pay us hardly anything to begin with-BUUUURRRP!" shouted Bender as he poured yet another 40oz bottle of malt liquor in his mouth, and let loose a huge flaming burp. Leela spoke next, "Professor, what does this new device mean for us?" "Ohhhh nothing", replied Farnsworth. "All of you will still keep your jobs here, by that I mean I still haven't forgotten about those 12 deliveries that were delibratly dumped in the sewer, so you all could zoom out to Atlantic City & gamble your asses off! You all owe me bigtime!"  Everyone got up from the large round table, and followed the Professor down to the hangar floor where a large canvas sheet was covering something.

    Professor Farnsworth shouted "Everyone, I present my latest invention!" He proceeded to pull the sheet down revealing a 25 foot diameter circular, ring-like contraption, that suspiciously looked like a blatant rip-off of the Stargate. Everyone instantly gasped, Fry exclaimed "Whoa, it looks just like that Stargate thingy, y'know from that movie!" "Star-whaaa?" replied Farnsworth, looking at Fry like a confused puppy looks at a sporting event on TV. "It was this movie, back in the 20th Cen-oh what's the use, you wouldn't understand", said Fry. "Shaddup skintube! and fire that mutha up!" shouted Bender angrily. Professor Farnsworth walked over to the control console, pushed several buttons, entered delivery coordinates, and pulled several random levers, which made the center of ring shaped structure swirl to life with bright electric blue glow.

   "All you have to do is enter the destination information on this panel here" said the Professor as he motioned to a control panel that looked suspiciously like the time circuit display panel in Doc Brown's Delorean time machine from Back To The Future. Farnsworth began to enter an address, and delivery co-ordinates into the machine's console. "There! I'm going to send this test package to myself, to be delivered 5 minutes from now." And with that, the blue light inside the ring's center glowed brighter, and emitted a high-pitched whine.

   Farnsworth threw the small box he had been holding into the pulsating blue light, where it disappeared with a blinding flash. Sure enough, exactly five minutes later, the teleport's center began to glow brighter, and emit the high pitched whine, and a small cardboard box shot out from the ring's center, and struck Dr Zoidberg in the face, which sent him screaming in terror from the room, soaking anyone in his way with ink! "Now then, I don't want any of you morons touching this device, it isn't 100% accurate yet, I still have to fine tune the bugs out of it!" said the Professor as he dropped into his hover-recliner, and began to float away. "I have more important things to do today" before his setntence finished, Farnsworth slumped back asleep snoring loudly, still floating out of the room. "Ok you clods, show's over!" shouted Leela, "We've got deliveries to do, load the cargo, while I pre-flight the ship." Bender and Fry walked away doing their typical mockery of Leela being bossy, and started loading the day's cargo. Bender nudged Fry in the ribs while typically complaining about work "I dunno why we gotta load all this crap ourselves, we got that super-portal-thingy! Just sittin' over there gatherin' dust!" Fry retorted "c'mon Bender, we can screw with the Professor's new toy after we get done." But Bender had already ran over to the Teleport's control panel with a gleeful, mischevious look in his eyes. Bender started pulling levers, and typing in coordinates haphazardly, when Fry pushed him out of the way "Dude, you're gonna break it, it'll be worse than the time you blew up the boiler down in the basement!" shouted Fry.

   Fry was too late, the Teleporter began to power up, but this time it did not look, or sound as it did before. The teleporter eerily flashed blue with green bolts of electricity dancing in the center of it's ring shaped port. Instead of the high-pitched whine, it was screaming, louder than any mechanical thing anyone at Planet Express had ever heard before. Suddenly, before anyone could react to Bender's mistake, an enormous explosion of bright blue & white light shot out of the teleporter, along with something very large moving extremely fast. Leela turned around in time to see the large metallic vehicle come hurtling out of the teleporter's ring. She pulled a fast backflip to get out of it's way, landing on Fry in the process. Leela, Fry, and Bender watched in stunned awe as the thing that came out of the portal landed on the hangar floor, still moving forward at a high rate of speed. The truck's brakes engaged, but it just didn't have enough room to stop, and with tires screeching, it collided with the hangar's back wall. The truck was covered in smoke, broken glass, chunks of cinder block, and fine lines of it's paint were blistered off all down the hood & sides, no doubt a side affect of it's trip through the space-time continuum!

   While the dust settled, Dave saw that the truck had stopped, it's airbag had deployed, and with the seat belt, saved his life, but the impact had injured him, and he passed out almost immediatly from the pain. Before he lost conciousness, he heard a woman's voice ring out "Oh no, somebody's inside, get them out!" Several hours later, Dave began to regain conciousness. He saw that he was laid out on a couch, but his vision, severly blurred, since his glasses were destroyed in the crash, he could see people in the room around him, but couldn't see their faces. Professor Farnsworth was sitting closest to Dave, as he noticed him starting to stir. "Good News everyone! I think he's coming around!" Fry, Hermes, Amy, and Bender all gathered around the couch as Dave opened his eyes, and breathed a little faster, "Agrhhh! what the hell happened?, and who are you people?" "I was about to ask you the same thing." replied Farnsworth. Dave laid back down, still trying to remember what happened several hours earlier. "My glasses got smashed, I can't see anything." "Not to worry" said Farnsworth, and with that he pulled a small pistol-like device out of his lab coat, and simply aimed it at Dave's forehead. "What the hell-ZZZZT!" A bright red strobe-like flash went off, and Dave covered his face involuntarily. When the pain subsided, he dropped his hands, he noticed he could see just a clear, and sharp as if his glasses were back on his face. "Whoa, I dunno know what you did, but thank you! wow, hey, that thing better not give me cancer." The Professor just smiled his usual senile grin, and spoke. "Now then, who are you?" "uhh, well, it's, it's David, but everone just calls me Dave. Who are all you people?" "My name is Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, this is my long-time Engineering intern Amy Wong, that handsome fellow over there is my Governement assigned Bureaucrat, Hermes Conrad. Next to him is my Delivery Boy, Phillip J. Fry "whattup!". "Annnnd I'm Professor's faaaaaaavorite employeeeee, Bender!" "QUIET YOU!" shouted Farnsworth. "Yes, that's Bender, he's a bending robot, and all-around jackass! huhwheee!" said Farnsworth, as he waved his hands in the air.

   "So, is he awake yet?" came a voice from across the room. Dave sat up to get a better view. He recognized the woman's voice as the same he heard after the crash. The crowd parted to let Dave see who was speaking. Dave saw that her back was turned. He noticed she was tall, about six feet, wearing calf-high black boots, black sweatpants, and a plain white tanktop. He also saw she had beautiful long purple hair tied off in a ponytail, and her arms were muscular, and well toned. She turned around, walked over to the couch, and expected to hear the usual "What's with the eye?" question she always got from a stranger. Dave's eyes immediatly went to her face, her purple hair was pulled down in bangs to one side, as if to draw attention away from her single large eye. She knelt down beside the couch, smiled at Dave, "Hi, I'm Leela." She expected him to either freak out, or look away in disgust like so many people had done all her life when they first saw her. Dave did neither, he looked Leela right in her eye, smiled back, and said "Leela? what a beautiful name for an equally beautiful woman!"

Dave spent the next few hours asking questions, and getting to know everyone at Planet Express, for they were just as curious about him, as he was about all of them. Dave still could not believe he really was in the 31st century, he listened with great interest to Fry, when he told Dave he too used to live in the later part of the 20th century, how he had been accidently frozen on New Year's Eve 1999, and awoke 1,000 years later to a strange, yet wonderful second chance at life in New New York. Dave looked around, he noticed, with the exception of the Professor, everyone was about the same age as he was, late 20s, or early 30s. The talked for hours about how different things were going to be from the life Dave once led in the 21st century. Dave's mood turned rather somber as he spoke of the last few years, about all the things in his life that went wrong. With that, Dave said he didn't want to talk about it anymore, his voice trembling a little bit as he finished.

Urban Legend
« Reply #1 on: 03-19-2008 14:52 »

Great story, Torgo!  When you're done writing it, you should post it to Futurama Madhouse. 
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #2 on: 03-20-2008 00:30 »

Originally posted by KurtPikachu2001:
Great story, Torgo!  When you're done writing it, you should post it to Futurama Madhouse. 

It's over there now. I'm still finishing part 3, it'll be up tomorrow.

  big grin

La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #3 on: 03-20-2008 14:34 »
« Last Edit on: 03-20-2008 14:34 by Torgo »

"Stranger In A Strange Land", Part 3

(Planet Express building, 06/03/3008 - 5:45am)

   The following morning, Leela arrived at work much earler than usual. Dave was fast asleep on the couch in the dimly lit break room, a Slurm-stained pillow, and thin blanket was all they could find at the office, but Dave gratefully accepted them. Leela started to make coffee in the small kitchen next to the break room, quietly as to not wake Dave up. Nobody else had arrived at Planet Express as the sun began to peek through the New New York skyline on a beautiful cloudless early summer morning. Leela sat at the small table in the break room drinking coffee, minding her own business, but looking up every once in a while to glance at their new guest on the couch. Curiously, Leela got up and walked over to the large bay window, as if something were happening out in the street. The smell of the coffee brewing caused Dave to stir. He slowly opened his eyes, but did not move, he glanced at the ceiling noticing dawn was breaking. He saw someone standing by the window, and noticed the early morning sun softly illuminating Leela's face, and her long beautiful purple hair.

   Leela had been casually glancing over at the couch ever few minutes, and she was startled a bit when she looked over, and Dave's eyes make contact with her's. "Oh, I'm sorry, didn't mean to scare you like that" said Dave. Little did Dave know, if it had been anyone else, Leela would have already had a roundhouse kick in mid-flight aimed at the sternum of whoever scared her! Leela composed herself, "It's ok, you were probably more spooked than I was, what with my one eye and all." ,"No"[/i said Dave in a calm voice, "your eye didn't scare me, I guess I'm not used to waking up in strange places, with people I just met the day before." Dave steadied himself as he sat up, he was stiff with pain from yesterday's crash. He reached involuntarily for his glasses, then remembering they were smashed, and how Professor Farnsworth had miraculously fixed his eyesight with a simple jolt from a lazer pistol of his invention. Dave made an attempt to stand up, slowly. He staggered around the room for a minute, not noticing Leela was no longer standing at the window. She came back into the room with a mug of steaming hot coffee. "Here, sit back down, you look like your still hurting from the accident."

   Dave & Leela were still conversing over coffee when Fry & Bender came strolling into the office. "Geez, get a room you two!" Fry joked, but all Leela did was stare daggers at him, look down into her coffee muttering "idiot!". Everyone was gathered on the couch watching Morbo, the news monster, deliver yet another diatribe on his hatred of all mankind when Farnsworth, and Hermes walked in. "Good news everyone! we've got fresh organs to harves-ohhhh, Damn!, he's still alive." mumbled Farnsworth. "Sorry Zoidberg, you'll have to raid the dumpster again if you wanna eat!" Zoidberg just moaned from the other room "Ohhhh, I already cleaned it ouuuuut! WAHHHH HA HAA!"

   While the Planet Express employees were at the large conference table enduring yet another one of Hermes's exceedingly long presentations, Dave used the alone time to see what was left of his truck, and see if he could salvage anything. Dave hung his head in disbelief as he surveyed the damage. Somehow, they had managed to pull the big Dodge out of the large, jagged hole it punched in the reinforced concrete wall. All that remained of the front end were the exposed frame rails, and a jumble of scrap metal & wires around the engine block, it was totaled! Dave felt for his keys, forgetting they were still in the truck's ignition. He pulled the passenger side door open, which promptly fell off it's hinges and crashed to the floor. "If ya don't mind, we're tryin' to hold a meetin' here mon!" shouted Hermes. Dave apologized, and went back to rummaging through the cab for anything that may have survived. He first found what he needed most, a small duffel bag with a few days worth of clean clothes still inside! He muttered to himself how lazy of him to not keep a cleaner vehicle. He brushed a load of broken glass off another small bag and remembered it was his travel attache bag containing his laptop computer, iPod, and a small digital camera. He wondered if they would still work 1,000 years in the future. Not much else was left inside, Dave did have a habit of leaving his jacket in the seat back storage area, he reached back, and pulled two jackets out, one was his old nomex flight jacket, issued to him by the US Navy, the other was a black & silver striped replica of a stock car driver's firesuit jacket. Dave smiled as he looked at the large "Goodwrench" logos emblazoned on the front and back beside a large, red stylized #29, and stitched signature of his favorite driver, Kevin Harvick. Dave was a huge fan of auto racing, NASCAR in particular, and he wondered if that was still around in 3008. Dave checked under the seats to see if he could find anything else. His hand touched something cold, metallic, and in a instant, he knew what it was. He pulled back his hand revealing the flat parkerized finish of his .45 ACP semi-automatic pistol. He reached back under the seat, and found the well-worn brown leather shoulder holster, and smiled. That shoulder rig had been worn by his father on almost all of his combat missions he flew back in Vietnam, and Dave was thrilled when it was passed down to him.

   Dave had taken his laptop computer, firearm, and duffel bag, lowered the truck's tailgate, and set up a makeshift workbench to see if everything still worked. He unfolded the laptop's screen, no damage, that's good, he thought. He pressed the power switch, and to his surprise, the little PC powered up! While the computer was booting up, Dave began to inspect his firearm. By now, Hermes's meeting had ended, and Dave was joined at the back of the truck by Fry and Bender. "Whatcha got there fleshpile? Some kinda primative computer hardware I see!" said Bender as he stood relaxed with a big bottle of Olde Fortran in one hand, and lighting a cigar with the other. Satisfied that his computer, iPod, and camera still worked, Dave grabbed his duffel bag, and headed for the locker room. The hot water from the shower felt good on his sore back, plus he was just grateful to get cleaned up again. Dave paused at the large mirror over the sink, studied the small cuts & scratches he received from the crash for a minute, and went about shaving. Amy didn't know Dave was in there, and accidently walked in. Dave didn't know she was even there either, until Amy gasped in shock! She noticed Dave's scarred back, but by then he turned and saw her walk out of the locker room.

   Fry, Leela, Bender, and Amy were gathered in the break room when Dave finished getting cleaned up. He walked into the room, looking much better than the day before. "Heyyyy, you clean up good meatbag!" said Bender. Amy's face turned a little red, and she tried to look away. Fry, and Leela both gave thumbs-up gestures, as Dave looked rather handsome, yet rugged with a tight fitting black t-shirt tucked into blue jeans, worn with his large black leather work boots. Leela spoke next, "Dave, we have a delivery to go on, you're more than welcome to join us." Dave's eyes lit up. "Really?" ,"Yup, we have to deliver raw materials to Metalon-6, nothing fancy, should only take a few hours." said Leela.

   Everyone re-grouped at the large round conference table for the mission briefing. Hermes's explained the delivery to Metalon-6 wouldn't take long, but it could be dangerous. Hermes pushed a button on his console, and the computer display in the center of the table played the mission profile. "Metalon-6 is inhabited by a humanoid species. The people live, work, and worship one thing, loud heavy metal music! The planet's chief exports are "Monster Ballads" compilation albums, and musical instruments (computer displays images of what appear to be some futuristic looking instrument like a guitar, and some percussion pieces) The people dress mostly in leather, denim, or spandex material. They are ruled by a single tyrannical dictator. (computer displays image of ruler who stands nearly 12 feet tall, dressed in leather, long black hair, and wearing an enormous black leather top hat.) Metalon-6 is currently at war with the nearby Country-Western Federation of Planets. The leader of the CWFP was almost assasinated last month by an unknown assasin, which they assume was from Metalon-6." The computer display flickered off, and Hermes spoke again. "Everyone, make sure da ship's weapons are fully loaded, and make sure you are all armed yourselves." Leela, and Fry went back to the storage locker to gather plasma rifles, and pistols for the mission. Dave walked over to his truck, pulled on his shoulder holster, gave his .45 a quick function check, satisfied, he secured it under his left arm. He suddenly remembered the ammo, and extra mags he should have under the seats. He rummaged briefly, finding 2 boxes, and six spare magazines. He grabbed up his ammo, and his USN jacket & headed over to the Planet Express ship.

   The closest Dave had ever been to a spacecraft before was watching the Space Shuttle being readied for a launch inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center. Now he was 1,000 years in the future, a time where space travel is so common, most people take it for granted! Dave looked around in awe at the huge two-tone green space vessel. Leela was performing her usual pre-flight inspection, connecting the ground power umbilical cables to access ports near the ship's forward landing strut, pausing to rapidly stamp several papers for Hermes, and then yelling for everyone to get on board. Dave followed Leela, Fry, and Bender up the stairs, the main access door slid open, and Dave was greeted by the sound of capacitors charging, electrical cooling fans humming, and at the same time coughing at overpowering aroma of alcohol & stale cigar smoke.

   Dave, Fry, Bender, and Capt Turanga Leela all buckled themselves in for the long trip to Metalon-6. Leela initiated the launch sequence, pulled a  lever on her right which started the large hangar doors overhead to open. Dave's face was plastered with his usual grin as he stared up out of the ship's forward windows, he loved flying, but this ws going to be an experience he thought he'd never see! The ship's main engines roared to life, and with Leela's shout of "Heeeere we go!" they were off like a shot!

La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #4 on: 03-21-2008 22:32 »

My main character now has a face!  big grin
I can't draw people well for some strange reason, so since "Dave" is based on myself, I uploaded a recent pic of me to the "simpsonizeme.com" website.

So allow me to introduce, David K. Murphy!  big grin

La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #5 on: 03-23-2008 20:53 »

"Stranger In A Strange Land" Part 4: Written by La Belle Leela.

(Planet Express Ship, June 3, 3008 - 1730 NNY time)

   "It really is beautiful, I don't know why I never noticed before." Upon hearing Dave speak that sentence, Leela stopped working and looked up. She suddenly remembered saying the same thing eight years ago, when she & Fry sought refuge inside the old Lunar Excursion Module on the Moon so they wouldn't freeze to death. Dave had been standing at the ship's forward window since they escaped Earth's gravity two hours earlier. "You guys must be used to all the same scenery out there by now, what with all the deliveries you make."

   Dave stood there silently watching the endless abyss of outer space go by. Leela noticed Dave was holding a small silvery piece of metal on a beaded chain in his left hand, "What's that?" she inquired. Dave explained to Leela it was his father's old US Navy dog tag, which Dave kept on his person for sentimental purpose. He told Leela, "Whenever I feel alone, I like to hold it, it makes me feel a little better, almost like he's here watching over me." Leela's face turned sad, remembering Dave was 1,000 years in the future, and all of his family, and friends from the 21st century would be long deceased. Leela tried to turn the subject around a little, "Hopefully the Professor can fix his matter transporter, to possibly return you to 2008."

   Dave, still facing out towards space, gave a small mournful sigh, closed his eyes, trying to do his best to fight the burning feeling of sadness rising in his chest. "You don't understand!" he snapped. he went on to explain to Leela how he had watched his father painfully battle the aggressive cancer that cut him down to nothing, how he had fought for two long years before it took his life. He told Leela how the remaining members of his family slowly drifted apart in the few years afterwards, how it was getting harder to deal with his emotions, how he kept losing jobs, having to move around alot, etc.

   By then, Dave was sitting on the flight deck floor with his back against the large front window of the Planet Express ship. His hands, and arms were shaking again, he clearly had been holding back alot of repressed anger, and sadness, like a spring under too much tension. Leela knelt down beside Dave, she gently placed his hands in her's, and spoke to him very softly. "It's ok Dave", her voice quivering a little bit. Dave began to feel as if maybe Leela understood what was tormenting him. Dave looked up at her, he saw her eye watering up a bit, Leela looked visibly upset. "I've never told anyone outside of Planet Express this." said Leela. "I didn't even know I had parents until a few years ago. I was going after who I assumed were two mutants I suspected of killing my alien parents, leaving me to grow up in an Orphanarium. I, I cornered them in the sewers, I came within seconds of blasting them into oblivion. If Fry hadn't been there to stop me, I never would have known the truth, and have never known my parents.

   Dave's face drained of it's color, and in a cracking voice he added, "If he can't fix that machine, then I'm stuck here right?" He was beginning to sob a little now, "and I never got a chance to say goodbye to my Mom, or my brothers, NO ONE!" At this point, Dave had lost it, the coiled spring inside him broke! Leela put both her arms around Dave's shoulders, and pulled him close, and he put his around her midsection in a tight embrace. Dave hadn't hugged anyone like this in a very long time. He now knew Leela understood what he was going through, and perhaps he thought, she needed the hug too, after opening up those old wounds from her past.

   An alarm on the flight deck sounded, they were approaching the security perimiter around The Metalon System. The video screen in front of the control console where Leela sat flared to life. "Identify youself, your ship, and your intentions!" barked the long-haired, leather-clad commander. "Captain Turanga Leela of The Planet Express ship, delivering raw materials for Metalon-6.", "Very well, your security clearance checks out, you have been cleared for approach, and are instructed to land at receiving bay 309A." The Planet Express ship began to shake slightly, indicating they were decending into the denser atmosphere of the planet, just picking up a little bit of turbulence as they flew through the mass of towering grey/black clouds that spewed from the barren landscape, dotted with volcanic activity.

   The flight deck of the Planet Express ship glowed an eerie red/orange from all the fiery eruptions going on down on the surface. The inhabitants of Metalon-6 were highly industrious, and had harnessed the power of the planet's molten core to power their massive factories. No other planets in The Metalon System produced the incredible amounts of raw materials needed to keep their production facilities running, so they were entirely dependent on importing raw materials from outside the system. Their war with the Country/Western Federation of Planets didn't help either. The CWFP did all they could to divert any shipments of goods to Metalon, in a effort to economically crush them into submission.


   With a sharp jolt, Leela landed the ship at bay 309A. Fry and Bender staggered into the flight deck, still yawning, trying to wake up. "OK, this shouldn't take long," Leela said, "we have a full cargo deck, but if you two use both hover-dollies, we should be outta here in no time." About the time that Leela finished giving her crew instructions, the door slid over, Dave walked back into the flight deck. "Is there anything I can do to help Captain?" Fry and Bender started looking around the room, as if Dave was talking to someone they couldn't see. "He's talking to me you idiots!" snapped Leela. "Well Dave, if you feel up to it, you can help Fry and Bender offload the cargo." Dave gave her a little grin, "No problem Captain". Remembering they were in a war zone, Leela reminded everyone to be on guard, Fry tucked a phazer pistol into his jacket, Dave strapped his .45 into the holster under his left shoulder, and two full magazines into the pouch under his right. He carried four additional magazines in the rear pockets of his jeans, and carried extra loose ammo in the front pockets. Leela, Fry, Bender, and Dave walked down the front steps of the ship, and were greeted by the receiving bay supervisor. Leela handed him the ship's manifest, the supervisor glanced at it, "Ahhh, 2 tons wood, six tons steel, and 300,000 blank audio discs! Unload everything there" as he pointed to the side wall of the bay.

   Their delivery complete, Leela & crew buckled in for the journey home. Just as the Planet Express ship was nearing Earth's outer atmosphere, the ship suddenly lurched violently. Bender and Fry came stumbling onto the flight deck, Bender being especially angry "What the hell Leela? Fry n'me were settin' up a whiskey still in the engine room!" Having been suddenly thrown against the control console, Leela had the wind knocked out of her a little. "It wasn't me! I didn't do that!" she angrily retorted. A video screen behind Leela flipped on, and a familiar, oily voice of a person she truly despised filled the cabin. "Brannigan!" hissed Leela angrily!

La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #6 on: 03-28-2008 11:40 »
« Last Edit on: 03-28-2008 11:40 by Torgo »

"Stranger In A Strange Land": Written by La Belle Leela (AKA "Torgo" )

Part 5

(Planet Express Ship, 06/04/3008, approaching Earth, 0134 NNY time)

   "Wooo hoo hoo, I see a certain kitty still knows how to scratch!" said a dumpy looking middle aged man

dressed in a ridiculously tight red velour uniform. Dave noticed the man had an ill-fitting hairpiece, and a huge

pot belly. "Just what the hell do you want Zapp?" shouted Leela. "Oh, it's nothing, your ship is being held oh-so-

sensously by my tractor beam, and you've been selected, completely at "random", for an inspection by the DOOP's

Transport Spacecraft Administration (TSA), prepare to be very seductivley boarded." said Brannigan. After a few

minutes, the Planet Express ship was brought inside the cavernous hangar bay of the large DOOP command ship,

Nimbus. The Planet Express ship's flight deck door slid open, Dave noticed Brannigan standing there, flanked by two

teen-aged looking TSA inspectors. Brannigan shouted "Ok, you go that way, and you go that way.", motioning to them

by waving his arms in a rather silly manner. "Your ship's manifest & crew list, let's see em'" said Zapp. "Hmmmm,

Metalon-6 eh? buncha long-haired, leathered degenerates if you ask me!" While going over the crew list, Brannigan

looked around at everyone. He obviously recognized Leela, Fry, and Bender, but had never seen Dave before. "Soooo

Leela, I see there's another rooster in the hen house!" Leela gave Zapp a mocking laugh, and said "Dave, allow me

to introduce you to this pompous, chauvanistic, idiot with the over inflated ego, this is Capt Zapp Brannigan. Zapp

had raised his hand, cutting Leela off mid-sentence, "Leela, I forgot how sexifully you are when you're angry, and

insulting towards me!" he said with a dumb, sleazy grin on his face.

   "Just do your stupid inspection, and let us go!" snapped Leela. Zapp couldn't resist, "Leela, what's say

you & me go back to my quarters for a more in-depth inspection of the sexilectual kind, followed by some sham-pag-

n." Dave couldn't hide his laughter anymore, and after composing himself he said "Ohh my god, not even the

sleaziest 1970s pimps talked, or used pick up lines as bad as this guy does, HAAA!" Zapp lookedover at Dave,

narrowing his eyes angrily. "What's this punk's name?" Zapp said while walking over to where Dave was standing.

"He's not on the crew list sir!" squeeked one of the TSA inspectors. "Sooo, it appears we have an unauthorized

person on board." said Brannigan. "*sigh* He's with us you fat idiot! He was accidentally transported here from the

21st century two days ago by one of Farnsworth's malfunctioning inventions. We were just letting him come along on

a routine delivery to see how we work." Leela knew better than to try and be rational with Brannigan, she knew he

was only detaining them so he could make more vain attempts at hitting on her. "He's only here until The Professor

can fix his machine, and send him home." Zapp turned to her, "Leela!, how could you do this to me? As soon as I

turn my back, you're hooking up with another guy!" Dave had realised the situation had turned serious. He saw Leela

was getting angrier, and aggressive towards Brannigan, and Dave didn't like what Zapp was doing at all. "I'm

arresting this unauthorized stowaway!" said Zapp. Bender and Fry gasped, Leela stood off to the side with an

incendiary look in her eye.

   Zapp reached out, grabbed Dave by his right arm, and with one lightning-quick reaction, Dave swung his left

arm through the air, and across Brannigan's face with a loud, metallic *POP*! Leela shouted, "DAVE, NO!" when she

saw the hand Dave struck Zapp with was holding his .45 pistol. Leela hadn't seen what Dave actually did, she though

he was going shoot Brannigan, but what Leela, Fry, and Bender didn't know was that Dave had only pistol-whipped

Zapp. Dave had hit him so fast, nobody saw the gun in Dave's hand, until he seated it back in it's holster under

his arm. Brannigan collapsed to the floor in pain, about the same time another DOOP officer appeared, telling his

captain they had no authority to arrest Dave, since they had no file, or information on him. "What?" said Zapp,

trying to gather himself from the savage blow he just received to his head. "Sir, this man is an Unknown, under

DOOP regulation N728DA-385-1C, he is considered non-Earthican, and has immunity, unless he is openly engaged in an

act of war sir!" Zapp angrily replied "What the hell do you call this soldier?" he said while still sprawled out on

the floor of the Planet Express ship's bridge, holding his head in pain. "Sir, I did not witness anything, sir!"

replied the DOOP officer. Zapp struggled to get to his feet, he looked at the side of his face in the reflection

from an overhead console, noticing the huge, ugly welt that the big steel frame of Dave's .45 auto had left.

Brannigan breathed raggedly as he spoke, "Leela, come over here, help me out, but I want you to walk reeeally slow

sweet cheeks!" Before Leela took one step, Dave turned, grabbed Brannigan by the collar, shoved him to the ground,

hard, picked him back up by the collar, until they were face to face, and spoke to him in a demonic tone "DON'T YOU

EVER! talk to her like that again, or I swear to god, I will end you where you stand!!!" Dave slammed Brannigan

back down to the floor, Zapp slowly began to crawl away, his eyes wide with fear, and sucking in air like a dying

fish. Just as Zapp made it to his feet at the front of the Planet Express ship's forward stairwell, Leela shouted

"Hey Zapp, no hard feelings!" she gave him a savage flying kick to his backside, sending him careening down the

stairwell, and onto the cold, hard floor of the Nimbus's hangar bay. Brannigan staggered to his feet, muttering

"Oooooh, daddy was bad, daddy was very bad!" still wearing his nasty, sleazy grin.

   "Dave, what the HELL were you thinking? That was totally uncalled for!!!" growled Leela. Bender chortled

"Heh heh heh, I thought that was freakin' awesome! You whacked that guy better than Joey Mousepad Dave!" Fry said

nothing, but was nodding in agreement with what Bender said. Fry ran over to the ship's window, pointing and

laughing at Brannigan as he limped across the hangar bay. "LOOK AT ME!" shouted Leela. Dave, Fry, and Bender's full

attention centered on the infuriated Leela. "I wanna know, what the hell were you thinking?" Dave still said

nothing. Leela paused, looked at the wall for a minute, trying to find her next sentence. "You could have gotten us

all arrested, our ship confiscated, and VERY long jail sentences!" Fry interrupted "I can't go to jail, I'm too

pretty! I can't even stand the catcalls when I have to go bail Bender out!" Leela continued, "You're lucky those

two TSA inspectors left before you clobbered Zapp." Dave replied "Well, you kicked him down the stairs, what the

hell did you do that for?" Leela shot back, "I owed him that, plus that sick bastard gets a rise outta being struck

by women, so I did it for the sake of saving our asses!" Dave walked over to Leela, "Look, I'm sorry Leela. I don't

know what came over me, he put his hands on me with hostile intent, all I wanted to do was defend myself." Leela

felt a small pang of regret for yelling at Dave, she was the same way, she remembered doing the same to Zapp on

numerous occasions. "Even if he is a gross, perverted pig, did you have hit him with your gun?" said Leela. Dave

replied "No,,,,but I certainly put the fear of god into him!" cracking a little smile as he finished. Leela didn't

find that amusing, but still felt angry towards Dave, "Well next time, leave it in the holster mister!", "No

problem Leela." said Dave, as he turned & walked back to the crew rest area, sat down & tried to think about what

had just happened. Dave felt the floor vibrate as the ship's engines came on line, and begin to power the ship out

of the Nimbus's hangar. Dave stared out of the adjacent porthole as the Nimbus slipped from view. Dave watched the

ship re-enter the Earth's atmosphere, it was very quiet, Dave turned away, thinking to himself,,, "Just what the

hell was I thinking?"

La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #7 on: 04-03-2008 13:46 »

Here's part 6 guys, enjoy!  big grin

"Stranger In A Strange Land": Written By La Belle Leela (AKA Torgo)

Part 6

(Robot Arms Apartments, 08/04/3008, 0845 NNY time)

   Two months have passed since Dave arrived into the 31st century. New New York was a very strange, and exciting place, Dave hadn't even been to Old New York since 1991. Fry, and Bender had invited Dave to stay with them, until Prof Farnsworth could fix the matter transporter, and return Dave to his life in the 21st century. Farnsworth was having no luck repairing the matter transporter. He couldn't re-create what Bender had done to open the rift in the space-time continuum. His latest series of tests only managed to bring people, or things from the current period through the portal, the latest test resulted in bringing a very large, and very annoyed Amazonian woman through the portal! Bender wasn't much help either. He couldn't re-create what he did to the machine, due to his memory bank getting corrupted, when he mistakenly wandered into a factory that made magnets, in his neverending quest for free alcohol! Dave was having the time of his life! He enjoyed many of the strange new discoveries out, and around New New York. Space travel, Blernsball, traveling by tube, and today they were going to show Dave the Head Museum! Dave, Fry, and Bender left The Robot Arms Apts shortly before 9am. They walked a few blocks over to a small sidewalk cafe`, where they planned to meet up with Leela, and Amy. The trio found Leela & Amy sitting at one of the tables, where they both were waving, having spotted the three crossing the street in their direction.

   The discussion over coffee that morning was ordinary, everyone catching up on each other's activities. Dave seemed to be paying more attention to Leela than the others. Dave had only known Leela for two months, but she was already like no other woman he'd ever known.(Large single eye & purple hair excluded) Fry had mentioned to Dave in about how Leela was abandoned at an orphanarium as a baby, how she had to endure years, and years of loneliness, and exclusion, due to her physical appearance. Dave looked up from his coffee, his eyes made brief contact with Leela's, they both managed to give each other a little smile. Dave spoke, "So how've you been Leela?", "Okay" she replied. Leela had been away from Planet Express for a few days, tending to her mother, Munda, who'd been suffering a terrible head cold. "Mom's doing much better, she's up & around, & getting on Dad's case about fixing the roof again!" she said with a little giggle. Everyone nodded in appreciation of the good news. Leela had begun to warm up to Dave in the time since the altercation with Brannigan two months ago. Other than Fry, no man had ever stood up for, and defended Leela like Dave had done. In the time since, Captain Brannigan kept his command ship at a considerable distance whenever the Planet Express Ship was in the vicinity. Leela enjoyed being able to complete a mission, without being hassled by the big, fat jerk. She even started to relax a little more during deliveries.

   Today, the Planet Express employees were going to enjoy a well deserved day off. A trip to the Head Museum was always fun. They walked the short 6 blocks to the large stone ediface of the museum. Two huge banners hung by the entrance, indicating the museum was celebrating the golden age of 24th century TV stars. The NNY Head Museum was the biggest collection of historic, and famous people's heads in all of Earth. Dave was awestruck by the seemingly endless rows of shelves with large cylindrical jars containing the living heads of people. "Man, the things science can do!" thought Dave. They walked into the main hall, "Let's show Dave the Hall of Presidents" said Fry. "I never thought I'd ever speak to one US President, there must be at least 50 of them here!" exclaimed Dave. Bender was off in conversation with George Washington's head, asking about what kind of things he'd hocked for booze money. "Ohhh lord!" muttered Leela while looking away, they were next to Bill Clinton's head. "Bill Clinton! last time I saw you was 2007, you still had a body, and I got to meet you as you were boarding your private aircraft at the FBO I was working at." said Dave. Leela scurried past the group, Bill Clinton, even as just a head, still made inappropriate remarks at women, if they got too close. Further down the shelf were 3 jars, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Jeb Bush. "Wow! I didn't know you were president." Dave said to the head of Jeb Bush. "Yeahhhh, it was an easy landslide victory in the 2012 election, especially after that video of Hillary Clinton eating a live puppy leaked out over the internet." said Jeb Bush.

   Fry was over in the World Leaders section, making the head of Francois Mitterand laugh by doing his Jerry Lewis impression. Dave left the Main Hall, he saw the Hall of Sports Legends to his right. Dave walked past the rows of Baseball, Football, and Basketball stars, pausing to say hello to the 20th, and 21st century athletes he recognized. A table on the left held the heads of famous sportscasters. The heads of John Madden, and Pat Sumerall were engaged in a heated debate over why Brett Farve was still the best quarterback ever. Dave rolled his eyes "Ah geez, they're still going at it, even after 1,000 years!" Dave walked a little more. "Ahhh, here we go!" said Dave as he found a small alcove at the back of the hall with the heads of Motorsports legends. Dave noticed several head jars, these were some of guys he'd spent many a Sunday afternoon watching race hundreds of miles, and speeds over 200 mph! An enormous checkered flag hung on the alcove wall, behind a dais which displayed the head jars of the most famous drivers. Dave spent nearly an hour talking with several driver's heads, when Amy & Leela found him. "C'mon Dave, let's grab Fry, & go get some lunch." said Amy. They walked around the museum for another hour, until they found Fry, challenging the head of Ozzy Osbourne to "bite the heads off stuff", Fry so eloquently said.

   After lunch, Dave & the crew returned to the Planet Express building, Professor Farnsworth had called Leela on her computerized assistant she always wore on her wrist, informing them he had something to show them. "Good news everyone!" Farnsworth shouted as he walked into the break room, where everyone was watching Morbo deliver the afternoon news. Farnsworth walked over to Dave, placed his hand on his shoulder, grinned, and said "I have something I think you'll be happy to see!", and he started walking back towards the hangar. Everyone followed the Professor out to the hangar bay. A large object, covered by a canvas sheet sat next to the big two-tone green Planet Express delivery ship. Farnsworth grabbed a corner of the sheet, tugging in vain to remove it. Bender stepped up next to him, "One side gimpy!" he said, as he shoved Farnsworth out of the way. Bender pulled the sheet free in one swift motion, Everyone watchng gasped in amazement! Farnsworth had made good on his promise to repair Dave's shattered Dodge Ram truck. Dave was in absolute awe, the Professor had done such a good job, the truck didn't even look like it had slammed into a concrete wall at 60 MPH! Not only was Dave shocked by the excellent repair work, but he was simply awestruck by what Farnsworth had also done to his truck. The Professor had given Dave's 2003 Dodge Ram 1500, a Hover-conversion!

   Farnsworth explained, "The damage from the crash, uhh, combined with the antiquated propulsion, & drivetrain components, made restoring the truck to it's original configuration quite impossible." Farnsworth smiled at his work, not one of his typical smiles of madness, but Dave could tell he was genuinly happy to see how much he appreciated his work. Even the Professor's clone, Cubert, and Hermes's son Dwight had helped in the project. "Well, you guys make one helluva good build team!" beamed Dave. Dave was still speechless, he hadn't taken his eyes off the sleek, wheel-less truck since it was unveiled. It was sitting much lower to the ground now, it now rested on 6-inch thick rubber pads, instead of the 20-inch chrome-steel wheels it was originally equipped with. The truck's open cargo bed was now covered by a sleek titanium-alloy fairing, painted to match the Dodge's Patriot Blue exterior. Dave had walked around the vehicle several times, inspecting every centimeter of his re-born pride & joy. Dave opened the driver's side door, and examined the interior. With the exception of the new dashboard, the interior still looked the same as it did before. Dave climbed in behind the new steering wheel, which like most of the new components installed on the big Dodge, came from a salvaged Delta Romeo sedan, the larger, more powerful stablemate of the popular Beta Romeo hovercar. The passenger side door opened, Leela hopped into the seat, leaving the door open, so the others could get a look. "Professor, I, I don't know what to say,,,thank you! This is absolutely incredible!" exclaimed Dave. "Ohhhh you!" said Farnsworth, with a sheepish grin. "It was the least I could do, what with my invention being the cause of your accident." Dave responded, "So how do I start it?", "Guh!" shouted Amy, "Just turn the key silly!" Dave gripped the key in the ignition lock, "Well, here goes!" Dave gave the key a clockwise turn, expecting to hear the Hemi V8's throaty rumble, he was surprised by the high-pitched turbine engine-like whine of the electro-magnetic emitters powering up underneath the truck. The new indicator gauges clustered on the dash began to flutter to life. "It handles just like a normal wheeled vehicle in ground mode." said Farnsworth. Dave noticed the gearshift lever indicator under the speedometer now read "GROUND", "FLIGHT", and "PARK" instead of "P,R,D,2,1". "I'd be happy to show you how to operate it in flight mode." said Leela with an eager grin. For bureaucratic purposes, Farnsworth had given Dave's truck the Delta Romeo's HIN number plate, and tags, calling it a "Body kit modification", so not to arouse suspicion.

   Dave, Leela, Fry & Bender spent the rest of the afternoon driving around New New York, as well as a few laps around Manhattan, & Long Island, to get Dave familiar with the city's roads & airspace. Dave noticed Leela was an excellent pilot, she noted several times how the big Dodge's frame, combined with the Delta Romeo's powerful hover drive unit, made the truck very enjoyable to drive. When the truck's flight mode was engaged, the steering wheel worked very similar to an airplane's yoke, except no rudder pedals were needed. The new fairing over the truck's bed concealed an experimental fuel cell of Farnsworth's own invention. Two thrust augmentors extended over the bed & tailgate of the truck, these made Dave laugh a little, since they looked like they were stright off of Doc Brown's Delorean! Leela landed the truck, relinquishing control over to Dave. He hadn't flown anything since 1998, he wasn't scared, but cautious about what to do. Dave buckled in behind the wheel, the new 4-point harness felt strange compared to the normal lap/shoulder belt he was used to. "Be careful Dave, it's a powerful machine. It's going to accelerate much faster than before, watch for the cross traffic too." instructed Leela. Dave drove around the block a few times to get a feel for the new controls. As they pulled up to a red light, Leela said "Okay Dave, Flight Mode! Let's hit it!" Dave pulled down on the shift lever, a yellow "FLIGHT" icon illuminated on the dash, the steering wheel chirped twice as it telescoped a few inches outward into Dave's hands. Dave moved the wheel back & forth, turned it left, then right, to make sure it was free, and not binding - like Leela had showed him to do. Dave checked the mirrors, looked both ways, and as soon as the cross traffic stopped, he accelerated smoothly, while pulling back gently on the wheel. In seconds, they were zooming upward at an incredible rate of speed, passing the New New York skyline.

   The truck's new digital speedometer had changed to display airspeed knots, Dave gasped, "My god, are we really going 450 knots?", "Yeah, you better speed up, or we're gonna get rear-ended." said Leela. They spent the afternoon flying around Manhattan, up the Long Island Sound, Coney Island, and down the Jersey coastline to Atlantic City. The sun was setting as Dave, Leela, Fry, and Bender flew towards the southern tip of Manhattan. The sunset was magnificent from the air! As evening drew near, tall shadows from the skyscrapers interrupted the fading sunlight, as they approached the small street from which they took off from hours earlier. Dave turned the truck left, followed the East River for a bit, then lined up to land on the small road beside the Planet Express building. The big Dodge landed with a little jolt, "Not bad for a first-timer." Leela said non-chalantly. The amber "GROUND" icon lit up on the dash, indicating it was safe to shift back to ground mode. Bender spoke, "Wooo, that was fun, mind-numbingly fun! well, let's go get hammered!" Professor Farnsworth was waiting for the foursome, as they pulled into the hangar bay through an old rusty roll-up door in the back. "Ohhh good lord, they survived! Hermes, cancel that help wanted ad!" he shouted. Farnsworth walked behind the hovertruck, depressed two latches on both sides of the fairing, and raised it to reveal the sophisticated array of conduit & wiring snaking out of the fuel cell. "Damn! The fusion-core extrapolators are heat damaged!" cursed Farnsworth as he typed information down onto a computerized tablet. "Leela, I'll need you to go pick up the new extrapolators I've just ordered-eeeughh, but the only shop with them in stock is on Neptune.", "Not a problem, c'mon Fry." Leela shouted. Dave was going to remain behind, The Professor was going to give him a detailed explanation of all the new systems on his hovertruck, in the event of a problem, he could be competent enough to fix them.

(Space, near Saturn, 1900 NNY time)

   The Planet Express ship hurtled through the vast emptyness of space, as they drew nearer to Saturn's moon Titan. Leela broke the silence, "So Fry, what do you think about Dave, is he ok staying with you & Bender?" Fry answered "Yeah, he's cool, kinda quiet most of the time, OH, but he hates Slurm! I think he's a Communist!" Fry said, as he spat on the floor, giving a hint of some of the indoctrination by his father, Yancy. "Fry, don't be stupid! You know perfectly well that the last Communist died in 2885!" retorted Leela. "Well, what do you think about him Leela?" asked Fry. Leela let out a sigh "I dunno, he's a really nice guy, nicer than Shawn, and yeah, he is a bit quiet, and that could mean he's either really intellectual, really shy, or he's a psychopath!", "Nahhhh, I don't think he's a psycho, if he was, Bender would be a lot more friendlier towards him." answered Fry. An awkward silence fell over the flight deck for a few moments before Fry spoke again. "Dave seems to showing alot more interest towards you in the last 2 months, I saw how he was looking at you this morning over coffee." Fry said with a little bitterness in his voice. "Yeahhhh, ok, so he's paying more attention to me, it doesn't mean anything, at least i don't think it does. I really did like how he stood up for me in front of Zapp Brannigan." Leela said with a small smile spreading across her face. A few more minutes of silence passed, Fry spoke again. "Soooo, you think he's gonna ask you out on a date, or what?" Leela rolled her eye & sighed loudly "Fryyyy, just let it go ok? I really don't wanna talk about it now! Let's just concentrate on the mission, get the stupid parts & go home, please Fry?", "Okay, you're right, sorry Leela." Fry said apologetically. "It's ok Fry, your a good friend, and you're just looking out for me." said Leela. It was after midnight when Fry & Leela returned from Neptune. Professor Farnsworth was the only one in the building, fast asleep in his rocket-lounger. "Waiiiit, it's Thursday, Bender must be at O'Zorgnax's for Ladies Nite, Dave might have gone with him." said Fry. "Well, guess I'll see you tomorrow Leela, g'nite." "Goodnight Fry, thanks for going with me." said Leela, as she gave him a little wink. Fry & Leela shut the lights off as they left, locking the door, they turned to hear raucous singing from someone coming up the sidewalk.

La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #8 on: 04-10-2008 01:24 »


part 7 will be up in the morning.
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #9 on: 04-10-2008 09:33 »

"Stranger In A Strange Land": Written by La Belle Leela (AKA Torgo)

Part 7

(Sidewalk outside Planet Express, 08/05/3008, sometime after Midnight)

   "Ohhhhhhh, Bender is great, Beeeender is great, BenderBenderBenderBender, IIIIIIIS GREEEEEAAAAAT!" Fry & Leela stood silently, as they saw it was Bender coming down the street, singing at his maximum volume, and dragging what appeared to be something human behind him. Bender stepped under the streetlight at the corner, when Fry and Leela saw this, they broke into a run. They gasped when they saw Bender was lugging an inebriated, and unconcious Dave behind him. "Ooowaaahh!" grunted Bender, "You're alot heavier than Fry, squishy!" Bender said as he dropped Dave's legs to the pavement. "Bender! what the hell are you doing?" shouted Fry & Leela in unison.

   Bender faced Leela & Fry, gesturing to Dave by pointing back over his shoulder, "Ahhh, sausage link here was feelin' kinda down, and I was bored, as usual, so I figured tonight being Ladies Night down at the bar, I'd take him down there, have us a good time, rather than mope around here, or at my place!" Leela studied Dave's sprawled body on the sidewalk, "How much did he drink?" she asked Bender with a worried tone in her voice. "Aw, just 4 bottles of Boomshine, (freakin' lightweight!)." The last part muttered under his breath. "BENDER!" That stuff's only good for stripping paint, or for robot fuel! did you stop to think, or tell him that?" Leela said angrily. "Relax big boots, dummy here has quite a tolerance for the stuff! I mean, Fry was throwin' up after only 5 or 6 shots!", "Well, we can't leave him out here, c'mon guys, grab a leg." said Leela as she picked Dave up by his arms. They carried Dave down 4 darkened city blocks, Leela becoming increasingly agitated at Bender's stupidity. They reached the entrance to The Robot Arms Apts, Leela proceeded to chew Bender out some more while they waited for the elevator. Fry flung open the door, they carried Dave inside, placing him gently on the couch, turning him on his side, just in case. Leela waited a few minutes, just to be sure Dave was still breathing, then headed for the door. "You two make sure to check on him from time to time, he's gonna wish he was dead, when he gets the mother of all hangovers in the morning." Leela closed the door behind her, "ohhh we'll check on him." said Fry with a mischevious grin plastered on his face, as he held up a black marker pen. Fry & Bender giggled as they looked across the room at Dave passed out on the couch.

(Planet Express building, 08/05/3008, 0900)

   "Where in Bob Marley's ghost are Fry and Bender?" shouted Hermes. The morning meeting was supposed to start at 8am sharp, and Hermes was livid with rage. Fry and Bender strolled in to the meeting, well over an hour late. "Sorry everyone, we kinda overslept." Fry explained as Bender interrupted him "yeah 'coz we were up so late drawing on-OW! Hey! knock it off!" said Bender as Fry punched his side to quiet him, so not to let the others know about their little "surprise". Fry & Bender were still snickering a little as they took their seats at the large, round conference table, letting Hermes continue with his briefing. After 30 or 40 minutes into the meeting, the sound of the large roll-up door in the hangar distracted everyone. Dave came walking in, passed by the conference table without saying anything, and headed for the locker room. When he returned, everyone stopped, and looked at him, not saying a word. Fry & Bender couldn't control themselves anymore, and burst into loud fits of laughter. "What de hell's so funn-oh, sweet manta ray of Montego bay!" snapped Hermes. Fry managed to stifle his laughter enough to stand up & point to Dave's face, which was covered in black marker scribbling, mostly anatomical obscenities. Bender had written a large mass of ones, and zeros all over Dave's left cheek, & neck. "Uhhhh, Dave, have you by any chance looked in a mirror this morning?" asked Leela. Dave walked back into the locker room, and quickly exclaimed "Ohhh, you guys are ASSES!" Bender was especially proud of his pranking, and laughed even harder when he saw the binary graffiti again, when Dave emerged from the locker room. Leela cast an angry scowl in Fry & Bender's direction, they stopped laughing immediatly. "Hey what's the big deal, he lived didn't he? Serves him right for passing out." said Bender. Leela didn't reply, she just sat quietly, still staring daggers at Fry and Bender. "I can expect this kind of behavior from Bender, Fry, but I'd thought you'd grown out of this sort of stuff. I thought you would have handled this with a little more maturity." Fry didn't understand, Leela was genuinly concerned. "Fry, he could have died from drinking that stuff last night, and all you two could think about was drunken shaming!"

   Bender yelled, "What are you getting so worked up about Leela? He was never in any danger of dying!" Hermes interrupted the argument, "Fight it out later! You three have a job to do! These anvils ain't gonna deliver 'demselves to Stumbos-4!!!" A few hours later, Dave & the Professor had replaced the damaged fusion extrapolators in his hover truck's fuel cell. "Perhaps you'd like to go test drive it?" asked Farnsworth. Dave sighed "Maybe later." Dave answered. He was still very pale, and fighting the detox shakes from last night. Dave left the hangar bay, walked into the TV room to lay down for a while. Amy was already on the couch, watching All My Circuits. "Spleesh!, you look like robot hell!" exclaimed Amy. Dave winced "Ohhh, please, not so loud!" Dave sat on the side of the couch opposite Amy, they sat quietly, watching Calculon monologue his way through yet-another wedding. "So,,,you & Bender have a good time last night?" said Amy. "Well, O'Zorgnax's isn't really a bar I'd hang out in, maybe it was just because it was Ladies Night, but I prefer a darker, quieter place to punish my liver." Dave said with a little smile. "Leela was really angry with Fry & Bender, what did they do?" Dave turned his head, pointing to the sore, red parts of his face where he'd spent the better part of two hours scrubbing off Fry and Bender's obscene writing. Amy let out high pitched giggle, "Hah! Drunken Shaming! I see that alot at Mars University, especially around Spring Break,,,and Rush,,,and midterms." Dave sat quietly, trying to settle into the corner of the couch cushions with his eyes closed tightly, to keep the daylight from the large bay window from getting through. Amy switched off the TV, "Dave,,,can I ask you a serious question?", "Sure Amy, what is it?" Dave answered groggily. Amy hesitated a bit, trying to word her question carefully. "I noticed you seem to give Leela alot of attention, what is it you like about her?" Dave though for a moment, his brain was still in the midst of an epic Neal Peart-esque drum solo from the hangover. "Amy,,,Leela isn't like any other woman I've ever known. Physically, she's incredibly beautiful,,,heat incarnate!, for lack of a better term. What I like even more about her is, I get this sense that she has this amazing inner beauty, it's like her soul gives off this energy, which just makes me feel really good, I can feel it all through me!" Dave replied with a really big smile spreading across his face. Those words temporarily made him forget the pain from the hangover. Amy spoke "Oh,,,well,,I was just curious Dave, Leela's kinda like a big sister to me. Not literally a sister, but I like to think of her as a sister, since she's been there for me when I've had relationship problems, or fears. Someday I'd like to return the favor for her." Dave looked at her quizzically, "What are you saying Amy?" She sighed heavily, "What I guess I'm trying to say is,,,I don't wanna see Leela get hurt again." Amy explained to Dave about Shawn, Adlai, Chaz, and she started to explain about Brannigan, but Dave cut her off, saying he'd already crossed paths with that loser, no explanation needed. "Amy, I think it's great you look out for Leela like that, she's blessed to have a friend like you." Dave paused, "But, yeah, I really do like Leela, alot! I just haven't been able to work up the nerve to ask her if she'd like to go out for coffee, or a walk, or something." Dave hesitated, his next words came with a little difficulty. "Amy, listen, I've never told anyone this. I want you to know that I've been hurt too, several times, and the last woman nearly drove me suicidal, broken love is a pain I know all too well." Amy's hand flew up to her mouth as she gasped. Dave looked Amy in the eyes as he continued, "Amy, please know this,,,I don't ever want to do anything to hurt Leela, I'd never forgive myself." Amy looked a little distressed at first, but she smiled at Dave, placed her hand on his knee, "Dave, it's ok, I really appreciate you being honest with me. I just wanted to know your intentions for Leela." Amy stood up, walked towards the door, she stopped before leaving the room, and said "Dave, if you & Leela do manage to start seeing each other, I just think you two would be a great couple." Dave managed to give a little smile, as he winced from the pain in his head. "Thanks Amy." He settled back into the couch cushions, pulling the blanket over, and around his head, to try and block as much light, and sound from reaching his head as he fell asleep.

   A few hours later he awoke, his headache mercifully had stopped, but in it's place was a kind of thirst usually associated with a trek across the desert. Dave stumbled over to the small kitchen in the next room, opened the cold water tap, and consuming several glasses of water. His thirst vanquished, Dave let out a loud, satisfying belch. He looked around the office to see if anyone was in. The Planet Express ship sat silently in the hangar, Dave looked up at the ship's windows, "No lights on, and it's after 6pm, they musta gone home" Dave thought. The only person Dave found was The Professor, dozing peacefully in his recliner back in his lab. Returning to the conference table, Dave found a note "Dave - Hope you are feeling better, if you leave, please lock up behind you. - H. Farnsworth" Dave heard a rustling outside, probably Zoidberg rummaging through the dumpster looking for dinner again, he thought. Dave decided to go out, see some more of the city. The steel roll-up door clattered shut, Dave snapped the padlock bolt closed, and climbed back into his Hover-truck. The early evening sky had become considerably cloudy, and a light rain began to fall. Dave sat while his truck warmed up. He noticed Farnsworth had installed another switch on his dashboard. The switch was guarded, and marked "MASTER ARM". Dave knew this placard meant The Professor had installed some kind of weapon in his truck, but decided that a crowded city street wasn't the best location to test his theory.

   Dave drove around for the better part of an hour, he decided to park, and walk around a bit. Turning down a small side street off the main avenue, Dave spied a parking space big enough to accomodate the truck, and let the Dodge settle against the curb with a gentle bump. Daylight was nearly gone, the streetlights were starting to illuminate one at a time. All the sights, smells, and sounds were mesmerizing. Dave walked around the large shopping complex, admiring all the amazing 31st century gadgets, devices, appliances, and clothing fashions each shop window had on display. A group of young Neptunian women walked by, stopped, stared at Dave's outfit for a minute, then continued on. He must have looked strange to them, he was just dressed in his usual attire of a black T-shirt, blue jeans, and black leather work boots. Dave heard one of the Neptunians giggle as they walked away "Did you see that? he looked sooooo 26th century, spluh!" Dave smiled a bit as he walked on. He stopped in front of a large department store, "Alien Overlord & Taylor". He entered the store, pausing to watch a TV monitor featuring an old woman, her grey hair up in a double bun give a speech about robot oil. "Hmmmm, that's gotta be that Mom person Fry was telling me about" Dave thought.

   Dave browsed through the store's three levels for nearly an hour, before heading down to the food court for some coffee. He found a seat in a empty part of the center atrium, relaxing while the coffee cooled down enough to drink. Dave watched as the milling throngs of people, robots, and alien races of all sorts walked by. It was finally sinking in that he was living in a time he never would have seen, if his lifetime had run it's course back in the 21st century. When he finished, Dave strolled back through the 1st floor of Alien Overlord & Taylor, back towards the street exit doors. Dave rounded a corner, passing a large display of Lightspeed Briefs, when he nearly jumped out of his skin in surprise! Right in front of him, no more than 20 feet away, stood Leela! She was standing at a checkout counter, not facing him, so she had no idea he had seen her. Leela was engaged in conversation with the young woman ringing up her purchase. Dave nervously edged his way behind another display rack, pretending to study the price tags on a pile of folded slacks, hoping Leela wouldn't see him, until he could think of something to say to her. When Leela finished her transaction with the clerk, she headed for the street exit. Dave had to act, his mind was racing, he finally had the opportunity to talk to Leela away from the Planet Express office, just the two of them. He kept trying in vain to think of something to say, "why can't I just go up and talk to her!, not just trail her like some creepy stalker!" he thought. Leela had nearly a half a block head start, Dave was having difficulty keeping an eye on her. Leela walked fast, Dave could only manage to see her purple ponytail bobbing, as she made her way down the street. It was dark now, the streetlights, and neon signs from the shops shone brightly on the rain-slicked streets.

   Leela turned right at the next intersection, down the side street Dave had parked his truck on. "Leela must live nearby, she didn't hail a cab leaving the store." Dave thought. Leela darted across the side street, Dave was nearly a full block behind her, but still managed to see her cross the street, and start to go down a darkened alleyway. Dave's pace quickened, he didn't want to lose her. Words, or no words, he was going to say something to her tonight, anxiety be damned! As Dave walked closer to the alley, he heard what sounded like shouting, glass was breaking, A Fight! Dave knew what he'd heard next couldn't be good, he heard Leela's high pitched "HEEEEE-YAHHH!" Dave instantly broke into a run! The alley was long, and as he turned the corner, he saw Leela execute a flawless high-flying kick to the face of one of the two others he saw in the alley. She knocked the first assailant out cold, but Leela slipped, and fell on the wet ground as she completed her kick. Leela yelped in pain as she landed on her back. The second assailant stood there staring at his unconcious partner. He growled "youse knocked half his teeth out, youse gonna pay now!" Leela was trying to stand up, but Dave could see she seriously injured her leg in the fall. The second thug flashed a knife from under his coat, maliciously staring at Leela as she crawled backwards towards a dumpster beside a brick wall to try and pull herself up to a defensive position. Leela's eye was wide with fear as the knife-wielding thug advanced towards her. What happened next couldn't have been anything short of a miracle. From out of the shadows, Leela heard someone running, in nanoseconds, Leela saw the thug get hit in midsection, and go down hard! Leela had been in many a fight, violence was nothing new to her, but she had never seen something as viceral as this. Her rescuer had the thug pinned to the ground, landing one savage blow after another to his face. What little light there was in the alleyway illuminated a ghastly scene. Leela's attacker was getting the beating of his life, the pavement around them was splattered with blood, and pieces of broken teeth. The thug's beating was over as quickly as it had begun. The samaritan's back was turned, Leela could not identify him in the dim alley light. The stranger stood up, administering one final, savage steel-toed kick to the head, knocking the thug out cold. Leela's heart was thundering faster than a dark-matter reactor. She prepared to defend herself, as the stranger turned around, and started walking to where she lay. "Who the hell are you? identify yourself!" she demanded. "Are you alright Leela?" the man said cooly, as he steppped into the light. Leela nearly fainted from the surprise. "DAVE? y-y-you? I-I, where'd you-what just happened?" She was shaking like a leaf, and starting to sob. "Leela! relax, it's over, you're safe now." Dave spoke in a very calming tone. He knelt down on the ground beside her, checking her over for injuries. ["Dave, Dave, where are they, they-he's got a knife!" Leela said sobbing uncontrollably. Dave pointed over to the two unconcious thugs on the ground "You clobbered the first one, that guy there had the knife," Dave said pointing to the second, bloodied assailant. "He's out cold too, you're gonna be ok, just tell me if you're injured." Leela composed herself "My ankle,,,I think it's broken." Dave replied "I saw you fall on it after you took out the first one. Do you think you can stand?" Leela suddenly reached over, and threw both of her arms around Dave's neck, and burying her face in his shoulder. "Oh I was so scared, he-he was gonna kill me!" she cried as Dave held on to her. "I'm here for you Leela, you're safe now" Dave kept re-assuring her, as he gently stroked her hair. When her sobbing subsided, Leela sat back up, looking Dave in his eyes, "Oh, I'm so embarassed, I should have been able to take both of those bastards down, just common street thugs!" One of the beaten-up thugs began to stir. "Leela, can you stand?" Dave asked her again. Leela took hold of Dave's arms as he pulled her to her feet. As soon as she was up, she yelped in pain, and started to lose her balance. Dave caught her, "Awright, I'm getting you to a hospital now!" he said. "Put your right arm around my neck, and hold on." Dave said, and with one swift movement, Dave picked Leela up in his arms, and started to carry her towards the side street. "My truck's parked not far from here Leela, hold on to me." Dave looked down at Leela's face every few seconds, even through her pain, she smiled at him when he looked at her. Dave took great care not to exacerbate Leela's injured ankle When he placed her in his truck. He made sure she was comfortable as possible before driving away.

(Taco Bellvue Hospital, 08/05/3008, 2130 NNY time)

   The emergency room doors flew open as Dave carried Leela in to be treated. Dave placed her down gently in a chair, and went for a nurse. Dave hadn't even noticed his own injuries. The fight with the knife-wielding thug had left Dave with several cuts to his hands, as he disarmed him, and Dave's adrenaline was so high, he never felt the pain, until now. Leela was admitted, placed on a gurney, and sent to an exam room. Dave yelled to her "I'll be right here Leela, you'll be fine." as she was wheeled away. A doctor led Dave to another room, he sat beside a small table with first aid gear laid out. The doctor examined Dave, "Well, aside from the lacerations and bruising, you'll be fine. What happened to you & the young lady?" Dave explained the whole story, as the doctor waved a silver metal cylinder back and forth over his cuts, sparing no details of the attack. "She was incredibly lucky you were there." Dave looked up, "Yeah, helluva way to meet a girlfriend."

   Dave's injuries now bandaged, he returned to the admitting lobby to wait for Leela. He stopped at the nurse's station, a tall dark female nurse was on duty, "How is she? is she okay?" The nurse asked "who?", "Leela, Turanga Leela, she's got the ankle injury." Dave said. The nurse pulled a chart, flipped through it a bit, "She's gonna be just fine honey, jus' relax." the nurse replied in a thick Jamaican accent. Dave asked "Is it ok if I go see her?", "We're not supposed to, but it's not too busy tonight honey, go on back 'dere, she's in 1224." Dave found the door, opened it a little, knocked twice, "Leela, are you decent?", "Yeah, come on in." Dave opened the door, Leela was lying on the exam bed, she was sedated, but extremely happy to see Dave. He walked over, hugged Leela tight, "Doc says your ankle's gonna be fine." Dave noticed the metal bird-cage looking cylinder that was affixed to Leela's right calf, extending down to her foot. "I just wanted to check on you before the doctor comes back.", "Thanks Dave, it was nice of you." she said with a bright smile. "I'll be right outside waiting Leela, don't worry, you'll be fine." Dave assured her, as he walked backwards out of the room.

   It was nearly midnight when Leela was discharged from the hospital. She was walking under her own power again, it was as if her ankle wasn't broken at all. Dave was napping in a chair by the main entrance. Leela smiled when she saw him, she walked over, gently placed her hand on his shoulder, Dave immediatly snapped awake, looking right up at Leela's smiling face. "Heyyy, I'm all set, we can go now." she said. The night air was unusually cool for August, as Dave and Leela stepped outside of the emergency room doors. "Would you like me to drive you home?" Dave asked Leela. "I wouldn't have it any other way." she said.

(Outside Leela's Apartment building, 08/06/3008, 0045 NNY time)

   Dave slowed his truck to a stop outside the dingy 10-storey apartment building where Leela lived. Dave exited first, walked around to the passenger side, and opened the door for Leela. Dave extended his hand, Leela gladly took hold, stepping out of his truck. They walked up the stairs to the entrance. "Thanks again,,,if you hadn't been there,,,that could have really turned ugly Dave.", "Leela, I would have done it all over again without a second thought!" Leela said nothing, she fixed her eye on his eyes, "You gonna be okay?" she asked. "Yeah, my hands got dinged up a bit, but I'll live." Dave said laughing a little. "Sooo, I guess this is good night." Dave said. Leela walked down one step to where Dave was standing, placing her arms around his shoulders, and resting her head against his chest, as Dave put his arms around her back. They embraced for only a moment, but Dave wished she'd never let go. "Goodnight Dave, I'll see you in the morning." Leela said, as she walked through the lobby doors to her apartment.

   Dave stood out on the sidewalk until she was gone. Before he turned to walk back to his truck, Dave looked up, The night sky was clear and starry. Dave stood silently, like he had done many times before, he offered his silent prayer "God, I did something incredible tonight, I think she might be the one!" Dave drove back to the Robot Arms Apts, Fry was snoring loudly on his mattress in the corner, Bender was snoozing, while muttering his usual "Nnnnngh, kill allll huuumannns!" Dave settled onto the couch, closed his eyes, and a few minutes later opened them, got up, walked over to the window, stared out at the twinkling New New York skyline, and whispered "Goodnight Leela."

La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #10 on: 04-17-2008 00:23 »

The first 7 parts of this fanfic have been added to the archive over at TLZ.  big grin


« Reply #11 on: 05-15-2008 00:00 »

Hey Torgo!  Good to see this story over here also.
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #12 on: 05-15-2008 00:32 »
« Last Edit on: 05-15-2008 00:32 by Torgo »

Originally posted by Flounder:
Hey Torgo!  Good to see this story over here also.

I've stopped updating it here. It's  getting a much better reception over at TLZ.

La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #13 on: 05-17-2008 10:51 »

Part 9 is now posted over at TLZ.
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #14 on: 11-24-2008 22:12 »

I thought I'd give this fic a 2nd chance over here. Much has happened since Chapter 7. big grin

Here's Chapter 8

(Planet Express Building, 08/12/3008, 1030 NNY time)

   A week had passed since Leela's near-demise at the hands of a knife-wielding assailant, as she traversed a dim back alley on her way home one rainy August night. Life had seemed to return to normal for the beautiful, headstrong Spaceship Captain.

   This morning, Leela came to work late, something she rarely did. Her eye was a little
red & puffy, a side effect from waking up crying in her sleep three times!

   She did her best to conceal it, but it was inevitable, her co-workers were going to notice sooner or later. The images of the thug with the knife, the fight, the pain from her injured ankle, kept running through her mind long after she got home.

   Leela awoke that morning with one thought on her mind, she was glad to be alive. She walked into the TV room, Fry, Bender, Zoidberg, and Amy were lounging about, watching "Good Morning Earth".

   Fry bolted upright, he noticed Leela's puffy, red eye immediately. "Leela! you okay?" he asked, very concerned. "You've never been this late to work, we were about to call you.", "I know guys, sorry." Leela said, trying to avoid looking directly at Fry, or anyone else in the room.

   She hated it when her eye was the center of attention, and her attitude was quickly becoming as irritated as her eye was. Leela quickly fixed her coffee, and headed towards the boarding steps of the Planet Express delivery ship. Out in the hangar, the morning rays of sunlight streamed through the windows, illuminating the big, green starship, and a patch of the floor where a pair of blue denim covered legs stuck out from under a hover truck.

   Dave was on a mechanic's creeper underneath his Dodge. There was a sharp, metallic clang followed by "OW! Dammit!" Dave slid out from under the truck, examining his bleeding knuckles, and searching for the Arclight spanner wrench he just dropped.

   The wrench had skittered across the hangar floor, and came to rest against Leela's left boot. Standing up from the creeper, Dave saw Leela bend down, and pick up the wayward tool. "Uh, hey Leela,,, guess I scared it off eh?" Dave said jokingly.

   Leela gave a little smile, and laughed under her breath. She walked over to Dave, as he was cleaning the blood from his knuckles off with a shop rag. "I see you're busy, I've got some software upgrades to install on the ship's computers. You & the Professor get the bugs worked out of your truck yet?" Leela asked.

   "Yeah, we finally got that fuel cell to work at maximum efficiency during all modes of travel." Leela handed Dave his wrench, "Well, see ya around" Leela said as she turned around towards the ship.

   "Hey Leela,,," Dave began, she stopped, and turned around facing him again. "You,,,you look really beautiful today!" He said with a sincere grin, and face turning a little flushed. Leela had expected him to ask what everyone else was making a fuss over, but after the sleep-interrupted night she had, and feeling the way she was, that was exactly what she needed to hear.

   Leela walked back over to Dave, placed her hands on his biceps, leaned in, and gave him a little peck on the cheek. "Awwww, thanks." she said quietly. The two of them stood looking at each other for a moment, "Oh, well,,, I better get started on those upgrades." Leela said as she walked away.

   Dave turned his attention back to his work. Being classified an "Unknown" by the Earthican Government, he couldn't be implanted with a career chip, so he was ineligible for any kind of employment. He couldn't secure a residence either.

   To make him look more like a regular, average citizen, his truck was outfitted with large "Planet
Express" logo decals on the doors, and tail fin, so not to arouse suspicion. Up on the ship's flight deck, Leela busied herself with the software installation.

   She rolled her chair back & forth between several consoles, "PC Load Letter?, the hell does that mean?" she yelled as she tapped rapidly on a keyboard. Amy appeared in the doorway.

   "I'm a little busy at the moment Amy" Leela said, as she took a swig of coffee between rolling from one computer to the next. "Uhhh, sorry Leela, just wanted to see how you were doing."

   Leela gave a haggard sigh, and looked up at Amy, with a weary look on her face. "I'm okay Amy, I just didn't get a lot of sleep last night." said Leela, as she went back to tapping on a keyboard.

   "Ohh,,,is it about him?" Leela nearly bit her tongue when Amy uttered that sentence. "*sigh!* No!,,, well, yes, and no." replied Leela. "You wanna talk about it?” asked Amy.

   Leela was at a split decision, part of her wanted to, and part of her didn't. She had wanted to tell somebody about her harrowing ordeal last week. "Alright Amy, close the door. This conversation doesn't leave the ship, it's just between you & me, comprende?"

   Normally, Leela would have immediately told her parents whenever something happened in her life, but because of the seriousness of last week's incident, Leela knew her sweet mother, Munda, wouldn't have taken it well.

   Leela knew she would have been worried to death about her only daughter living on the surface. About an hour later, Dave finished bolting the access covers back onto the underside of his truck. He  stopped by the small kitchen area, grabbed some coffee, and joined Fry, Bender, and Dr Zoidberg in Farnsworth's lab.

   "Bad news everybody!" said Farnsworth. ”It seems Bender's jackassery with my matter transporter has done such irreparable damage, I still can't figure out how the hell it managed to bring someone here from a thousand years ago!"

   Fry spoke up "Irreparable huh? that means you can fix it right?", "Ohhh my no Fry!" said Farnsworth, looking dejected. "But if you can create parallel universes, and genetically mutated, nuclear super-athletes, there has to be a way for you to fix the matter transporter!" retorted Fry.

   "Ohhh fuff! of course there's a way to fix it you idiot! AUGHHH!, I'll be in the Angry Dome if anyone needs me!"[/i] With that outburst, Farnsworth shuffled out of the lab as angrily as a 160-year old could.

   The side door to the lab flew open, Amy walked in, dabbing her eyes with a tissue. She saw Dave, and ran towards him, she flung herself at Dave, who's coffee cup smashed to the floor as he caught Amy.

   She was trying to say something, nobody could quite understand, it was a mixture of English, Cantonese, and crying. "Amy, Amy, calm down! What's wrong?" a surprised Dave said. Amy stood back, managing to compose herself, while wiping tears off her face.

   "I knew you were a good person Dave, I knew it!" she said while breaking out a big smile, still wiping tears off. "What the hell was that about?" said Bender. He and Fry were standing against the lab wall, still as statues, but with eyes wide in shock.

   "It's a long story guys, I kinda promised Leela I wouldn't say anything about it, unless she was cool with it." said Dave. Bender chuckled, nudged Fry in the ribs while making the "whpshhhh" whip-crack sound with his mouth.

   "Guys, I'm serious! The last thing I wanna do is anger a woman, who nearly took a man's head off with a sock full of party snaps!" replied Dave. Fry, Bender, and Dave walked out to the hangar, just about the time Leela was walking down the ship's stairwell.

   "Leela, what's going on? Amy's acting all crazy, not the Professor Farnsworth crazy, but that girly-girl crazy, you know." asked Fry. Leela rolled her eye, "*sigh!* Okay guys, over here." said Leela, as she motioned towards the round conference table.

   Leela spent most of the hour re-telling Fry & Bender what she told Amy. How if it hadn't been for Dave, she might not be alive right now. Fry sat back in his chair, sulking a bit. Leela asked Dave and Bender if she could talk to Fry alone for a while.

   "Fine! We know what we're not wanted! C'mon other meatbag, let's hit the bar!" Dave answered "At one in the afternoon? Geez, what is it with you & booze Bender?" said Dave, as they left the room. Leela waited until they were gone.

   "Fry, I want you to know nothing happened after the hospital, he just took me home, and it was just pure coincidence that he was there.", "Yeah, good ol' Dave to the rescue, again!" Fry said bitterly. "Now, just what's that supposed to mean Fry?" said Leela, looking a little cross. Fry lowered his head, and sighed with his eyes closed.

   "Sorry Leela, I guess I'm still holding on to the really small chance that you & I could still be together." Leela sat beside Fry, she placed her hand on his arm. "Fry, that's really sweet. You and I do have something very special between us. I love you as a dear, dear friend, I always will. Please try to  understand, I know it still hurts, but that's how my feelings are. I just don't feel the same way about you, as you feel about me."

   Fry got up, he started to walk away, but turned around, facing Leela. "Leela, the bottom line, I
want you to be happy. I know I can't make you love me, so whether it's gonna be Dave, or any other guy, It's more important to me to see you be happy!"
Leela smiled a little, walked over to Fry, gave him a small kiss on the cheek,

   "Thank you Fry, that sounded really hard to admit. You're gonna meet the right girl for you soon, don't ever give up!" Fry smiled, but said nothing. Leela went back to finishing the upgrades to the ship. Fry walked back to the TV room, Dave and Bender were playing "Keep Away" by tossing a large, moldy sandwich back & forth, while Dr Zoidberg grabbed frantically every time it sailed through the air past his head.

   "Everything ok Fry?" said Dave, as he flung the sandwich back to Bender. By now, Zoidberg had had enough. He wedged Bender's head in one of his claws. Bender choked out "Woahhhhhh, easy there stinky! don't pull on that, HEY, OWWW! Ahh geez, that's gonna take hours to buff out!"

   Bender dropped the sandwich, Zoidberg happily threw himself to the floor, devouring the sandwich whole. Hermes walked into the room carrying a large box, "'dis got dropped thru 'deh slot during lunch break." Fry examined the package label, "Hmmm, Zuban-5".

   Bender's eyes snapped wide open upon hearing that. Zuban-5 was where the most popular cigars in the universe were manufactured. "You ok Bender?" Fry asked. "Yeahh, no problemo, 'da hell we waitin' for? Let's get goin' already!", the agitated robot yelled.

   "Geez, take it easy Bender! Let's find Leela, and go." said Fry. The three of them walked out to the ship, about the same time as Leela was completing the software upgrades. "Fry, could you & Dave disconnect the ground power cables?"

   Fry & Dave walked around the belly of the large, green spacecraft. Dave examined the hull, much the same way he'd examined the airframes of his squadron's Grumman F-14D Super Tomcats during his days with the US Navy as an Aviation Machinist's Mate back in the 20th Century.

   Dave and Fry had gotten along great since his arrival, but Fry seemed really angered over something, something from his private discussion he'd had with Leela earlier. The ground power umbilicals disconnected, Fry and Dave headed for the ship's stairwell,

   Fry suddenly spoke. "Look, Dave, it's just,,, (sigh!) I've loved Leela ever since I came here eight years ago. She, however doesn't feel the same way towards me, no matter what I've done to try, and win her."

   Dave felt a little uneasy, "Sorry Fry, I didn't know you two had history, other than just working together. I do understand how ya feel, getting your heart broken just plain sucks! My last girlfriend, Dao,  we were engaged, and she just up, and left me one day, no explanation, nothing! I nearly took my own life over her, It hurt that bad!"

   Fry looked down at the floor, "God, that's awful!" he exclaimed. Dave continued "But that's all in the past now, one of the hardest things I ever did was to find the strength to pick myself back up, and move on. I know I'll find the woman that's right for me,,, someday."

   Fry moped on back toward the stairs "Yeahhh, guess you're right." Leela poked her head out the side window "Are you two done with the emotional dribble yet? or are we gonna pull an all-nighter?"

   Dave & Fry hurried up the ship's stairs, each found an empty seat on the flight deck, and strapped in. They noticed Amy was joining the mission too. "Were dropping Amy off at The Nimbus so she can visit Kif." Leela said.

   Bender chimed in, "Whaaat, The Nimbus you say? Woooooooo, Leela goin' on a bootay call! ehhh heheheh!" Leela said nothing, she waited until Bender turned around, then she slapped the back of his head! Hard enough that both of his eyes flew out, striking the cabin wall, and clattering to the floor.

   Bender began to wander about aimlessly, arms feeling around for his eye bulbs. The Planet Express ship was fast approaching the Omicronian system, where Amy's boyfriend, Lt. Kif Kroker was stationed aboard a DOOP command vessel.

   Dave, and Fry were having an animated discussion about the best movies of the 1980s, while Bender amused himself with his boredom repression simulator. Leela had no idea who "Maverick", "Iceman", and "Goose" were, as Dave gave his diatribe on why "Top Gun" was the best film of the 1980s.

   Leela engaged the autopilot, and headed for her quarters. Before she left the flight deck, she stood in the doorway, looking at Fry & Dave. Leela thought to herself & smiled, "Hmph! guys & action movies,,,some things never change!"
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #15 on: 12-02-2008 22:25 »

This is a loooong chapter! big grin I have to split it into 2 posts, hope ya like it. big grin

  "STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND"                                                                                                                                
                                                            Written by La Belle Leela
Chapter 9, Part 1

“Hell IS a bad place to be."

    (Planet Express Delivery Ship, Somewhere near the Omicronian System - 08/12/3008, 1415 hours NNY time)

           The Planet Express Ship approached the outer rim of The Omicronian System of planets. In the distance, a large, white space vessel could be seen holding position. The video screen above the ship’s center console flashed to life. A red-uniformed DOOP officer appeared on screen.

           “This is Lieutenant Evans of the DOOP Command vessel Nimbus. Please state your name, and your intentions.” Leela promptly answered, “Captain Turanga Leela, of The Planet Express Delivery Co, I’m bringing a Miss Amy Wong aboard for official visitation with Lt. Kroker.”

             The Lieutenant looked slightly confused for a moment, then looked back into the screen.

          “I’m sorry, but Lt. Kroker isn’t on the bridge at the moment, however, you are cleared to approach, and dock inside Hangar Bay #2.”

           Leela skillfully maneuvered the ship inside the cavernous hangar bay, landing the ship with a gentle thump. As much as Leela hated The Nimbus’s commander, Zapp Brannigan, she was doing this side trip for Amy. Lt. Evans and a welcoming party were waiting for them as they disembarked.

   “Where’s my Kiffieee?” squealed Amy. “I’m terribly sorry Miss Wong, Lt. Kroker had to called away on a special assignment  with Capt. Brannigan this morning.” said Lt. Evans.  Amy was shocked, “but,,,he knew I was coming to see him today. Did he say where he was going?” Lt. Evans replied, “I’m sorry, the nature of the mission is highly classified, and I’ve been ordered to be silent about it.”

   Amy, looking very upset, climbed the forward stairs back into the Planet Express Ship. The other crewmembers started walking back to the ship as well. Leela stopped, walked back to the Lieutenant, and looking very furious, began to give Lt. Evans a piece of her mind.

   “That stupid, fat jerk! He knew we were coming today! Doesn’t he know how much this visit means to Kif and Amy? Zapp’s always gotta make life hell for everyone but himself!"

   Leela walked back up the stairs of the ship, making a mental note to beat the snot out of Zapp, next time their paths should cross. Leela made a fast departure out of the Nimbus’s hangar bay. Back in the crew rest area, Fry and Bender were doing their best to cheer Amy up. Up on the flight deck, Leela was still fuming.

   “I think I should have just let you shoot that big, fat jerk when you had the chance to!” Dave just laughed, Leela laughed even harder, visualizing Dave putting a nice big .45 slug in Zapp’s ass for the hell of it. “Well, I certainly needed the laugh Dave, I mean, it could have been worse.”

   The flight deck of The Planet Express ship was quiet. The silence broken only by the random clicks and beeps from the instruments. The steady rhythmic hum from the ship’s dark matter engines was monotonous enough to let anyone drift off to sleep. Dave sat quietly, staring out of the ship’s big front windshield. The endless expanse of outer space unfolded like some otherworldly acid-trip daydream.

   Dave let his thoughts wander back to the time he spent with his father in the 20th century. He had to remind himself that it was the year 3008, and perhaps this was the second chance he spent so many desperate nights praying for. He still held some hope that Professor Farnsworth could fix his matter transporter, and he could return to the 21st Century.

   Dave jolted upright in his seat, Leela’s voice had startled him.

   “Soooo, Dave,,,you’ve been kinda quiet , what’s on your mind?”  She asked casually.

   “Meh,,,just thinking back, about some good times I had with family back in the 20th. Dad & I used to go fishing almost everyday in the summer.” Dave giggled a bit as he continued, “This one time, we went to this graduation party, Dad got really hammered drunk, I had to help him walk back to the motel that night!”

   Leela just muttered a small “Hmmph” She didn’t seem amused much for some reason. Dave replied, “What kind of crazy stuff did you do with your parents?”

   “Sorry Dave, I didn’t. Until a few years ago, I thought my parents didn’t exist.”

   Dave immediately recalled Fry telling him about Leela’s ordeal down in the sewers, about how she nearly killed the answer to her greatest mystery.

   “I’m really sorry Leela, I should have remembered that.” Dave answered mournfully.

   “Awww, forget about it.” she sighed, and returned to typing information into a computer bank at the rear of the flight deck.

   Dave returned to gazing out of the window, cursing himself in thought for potentially re-opening Leela’s deepest emotional scar.

   He stood up, walked over to Leela, trying not to get in her way. “Is there anything I can help you with before we land?”

   “No, I think I’ve got everything under control for now.” Leela answered politely. “Why don’t you go back, and see what Fry and Bender are up to?” Dave smiled, stepped between Leela, and a instrument console, he put his hand on her shoulder momentarily, as kind of a silent apology for not remembering about her parents.

   Dave exited the flight deck through the sliding door, almost getting crushed by Bender, as he ran down the corridor, laughing maniacally, and swinging a twisted up wet bath towel at Fry. Amy was doubled over with laughter, as Fry, clad only in his underpants, slapped his own wet towel against Bender’s rear end with a loud, metallic “pop”.

   Leela could hear the ruckus from her Captain’s chair on the flight deck. “Ohhh lord, they’re at it again! Well, at least they cheered Amy up.” She thought.

   Dave decided to join in on the fun. He snuck around behind Bender, got down on all fours, motioning to Fry to make Bender walk backwards. Fry swung his towel menacingly at Bender. Just like the prank was planned, Bender backed up, tripped over Dave, and fell screaming onto his back. Fry, Amy, and Dave nearly laughed themselves into exhaustion, as Bender hollered, and cursed at the trio while trying to right himself.

   The image of Zuban-5 came into view on the main computer screen. The monitor over Leela’s head was flashing an incoming message. The screen displayed  landing instructions, telling Leela to approach, and land on the planet’s Eastern Hemisphere Receiving facility. Having his fill of Bender & Fry‘s shenanigans, Dave had rejoined Leela on the flight deck.

   “That’s strange, we usually go to the Western Hemisphere Facility to deliver stuff to Zuban-5. The Eastern side is a volcanic wasteland, with few inhabitants.” Leela remarked.

   Dave had an uneasy feeling. He removed, and inspected his firearm, making sure it functioned normally. He inspected all of the pistol’s magazines, he made sure he could see seven copper bullet noses peeking out of the holes in the magazine’s sides.

   Leela noticed his activity, “What is it Dave?” she asked. “I dunno Leela, I’ve got a funny feeling about where we’re going, as if something bad’s gonna happen.” he replied.

   “Fry, Bender! Knock off the grab-ass! Get buckled in, we’re landing!” Leela shouted over the ship’s intercom.

   The Planet Express Ship descended through Zuban-5’s grey, cloudy atmosphere, revealing a barren landscape that was as grey, and lifeless as the sky.  If the mountains hadn’t been such a foreboding, ominous black color, Leela could have easily suffered from vertigo. She followed the GPS coordinates displayed on her overhead monitor. It was pointing her towards a desolate, jagged mountain in the distance. She flew around the summit, and noticed a large landing pad on the east side of it. Leela saw a large white DOOP shuttlecraft, with several small red colored fighter escorts parked alongside.

   The Planet Express Ship touched down with it’s usual “chuff” sound of the airbrake, and powered down. Fry grabbed the package, Dave, Leela, and Bender followed him, as they descended the ship’s forward stairs. The landing pad was deserted, not even the DOOP ship had security personnel standing guard. A solitary path let towards the enormous mountain. A huge stone monument was carved out of the mountain’s side, Dave noted how it strangely resembled the Ancient Egyptian temple of Ramses II, both in design, and size.

   A rusty, weather-beaten sign indicated “ALL DELIVERIES HERE” with a large black arrow pointing in the direction of the huge carved stone edifice in the mountain. The distance from the pad to the mountain couldn’t have been more than half a mile, but seemed to go on forever, due to the size of the surroundings. When Fry & the group reached the carving at the end of the path, Leela spoke.

   “Well, it ends here, but there's no door!”

   No sooner had Leela spoken those words, the huge stone wall split, and began to open. Smoke, and dust poured out of the opening, blinding, and choking them. When the smoke began to let up, they could see they weren’t alone. Dozens of small, red metal robots swarmed out of the fissure. One took aim with an electrostatic weapon, and fired it at Bender, rendering him immobile.

   The dozens of robots jumped on the rest of the crew. All of the small, red-colored robots had beady little yellow eyes, horns atop their heads, and long, whip like pointy tails. Fry didn’t put up much of a struggle, and was quickly pinned to the ground by three of the demonic robots. Dave managed to put his big, steel-toed boots to good use, he felt the front of his left boot connect with a robot’s head, and heard a satisfying crunch.  Five of the robots all jumped on Dave’s back. The weight of them forced him to his knees. One robot picked another one up, and used him as a high-tech club to smash Dave over the head, dropping him to the ground, like a sack of Space Potatoes.

                                                                                                                                                     Leela was fighting like a pro! Her Arcturan Kung-Fu skills were seriously being tested. More demon robots streamed out of the smoking hole in the mountain. A swarm of at least twenty robots all pounced on her simultaneously, overwhelming her. The robot demons made sure the Planet Express crew were secured with strange, glowing blue wrist restraints, and positioned them all up into a kneeling position. Out of the smoke, a much taller, bigger version of the demon robots emerged from the opening. Fry and Leela shrieked in shock, as they could see they were in the company of the one & only Beel-Z-Bot,,,The Robot Devil himself!

   “Welllll, looks like everyone’s here for the fun! AAAAH, HAHAHAHAHA!” The Robot Devil said, cackling madly. “Fry, Bender, Welcome! Oh, and a special welcome to you too Miss Leela!” Leela tried to stand up, but was forced back by several guards. “What the HELL do you want from us?” barked Leela. “AH HAHHA! Later my dear, if I tell you now, it’ll ruin the surprise! Heeheehee!” The Robot Devil replied.

   The small robot demons motioned to the Planet Express crew to get up. Two of the small robots poked Dave, he stirred, and slowly sat up. He felt something trickling down the back of his head. He ran his hand through his hair, seeing it was bloody after being struck from behind by the marauding robots.

   The Robot Devil pointed at Dave, “Don’t let that one out of your sight! And no rough stuff, I need him alive!" he ordered.

   Dave got up on one knee, one of the robot demons slapped a pair of the glowing restraints on his wrists. They all began to follow The Robot Devil down the path into the mountain from which he came. The path snaked, and twisted inside the mountains cavernous interior. The heat inside the mountain was incredible, and their human captives struggled to wipe the sweat away, as it seared their eyes. The procession stopped at an overlook.

   “I bid you all welcome, to The NEW ROBOT HELL!” bellowed The Robot Devil, as gigantic columns of flame erupted on his command.

   “New Robot Hell? What happened to the old Robot Hell?” asked Fry.

   The Robot Devil gave a haggard sigh “Old Robot Hell got slapped with an eviction notice! It’s alright,,,New Robot Hell has sooooo much more to offer, for example, REAL MOLTEN LAVA! AHHH HAHAHAHA!” he replied, with his yellow robot eyes twisted upward in glee.

   With their prisoners back in tow, The Robot Devil led the procession down the twisting, rocky path to a small landing that stuck out from a deep, rocky alcove.

   “Alright, now tell us, what the hell do you want? What could you possible accomplish by taking us captive?” Leela yelled.

   The Robot Devil looked rather annoyed. “My dear, it’s not about what I want, well,,,at least not yet anyway,,,,it’s what “he” wants! Nahh hahaha!” and with that sentence, a door at the back of the alcove opened, and out onto the landing, flanked by two DOOP guards, stepped Zapp Brannigan.

   “It won’t do any of you any good to struggle, escape is quite few-teel!" (futile) Zapp said, while his guards charged their plasma rifles.

   Zapp continued “What my red metal friend here is doing is helping me reclaim something, by something, I mean somebody,,,and by that I mean you Leela.”

   Zapp leered disgustingly in Leela’s direction as she retorted angrily.

   “You sick son of a bitch! You made a deal with the Robot Devil? For me?" Zapp countered immediately “That’s right sweetness, you’ll finally be mine,,,forever!” he said with his usual ear to ear grin.

   Zapp studied his captives for a moment. “Guards! Release her, and have her dressed more sexilously for me,,,or not at all! Then place her in my quarters!”

   Two demon robot guards hoisted Leela to her feet, and led her away. Leela could see both Dave, and Fry were both seething with anger at the sight of this.

   “Wait! What are you gonna do with my crew?” Leela exclaimed, as she struggled with the robot guards.

   “Ahhhh yes, your crew, let’s see now." Brannigan walked over to the guards holding Dave and Fry. Zapp recoiled a little when he looked at Dave, but then realizing he was restrained, Zapp’s cockiness re-emerged.

   “Sooo, Mister “Unknown”, we meet again!” One of the robots holding Dave beeped, then spoke “Captain, the prisoner was carrying these.” The robot handed Brannigan Dave’s .45 pistol, and some of his extra magazines. “Ohhh hooo, not so tough without you ancient, metaly, hurty-thingy are you!” Zapp said.
   Dave was unfazed by Zapp. “And I see you’re not so tough,,,,well, who am I trying to kid, you’re not tough at all!” The alcove filled with laughter. Fry, Leela, Bender, and half the robot guards began laughing hysterically.

   “Ohhh, a comedian eh?” Zapp said angrily. “Stand him up!” he ordered to the guards holding Dave. “I’ve got some jokes of my own, and now that I have a captive audience,” Zapp swung his fist upward, slamming it into Dave’s midsection, knocking the wind out of him. Dave stood back up after a moment. “That was a good one eh? What, you don’t think so? Well, how about this old chestnut!” Zapp landed another punch to Dave’s gut.

   “THAT’S ENOUGH ZAPP!!!” Leela shouted, her voice cracking with anger. The DOOP guards loosened their grip on Dave’s arms, letting him fall to his knees, as he caught his breath. Zapp kneeled down, looking Dave in the eyes,

   “It’s not worth the trouble, don’t even think about it. Leela is mine now!” Zapp hissed, as Dave continued to stare at the floor, his breathing returned to normal. When Zapp finished his sentence, Dave spoke up in a low, gravely voice, with a slight giggle. “Ohhhh, now I get the joke!” and with that, Dave slammed his head upward into Zapp’s face. Brannigan staggered back, his mouth streaming blood from Dave’s savage head-butt. “GET HIM OUTTA MY SIGHT!” Zapp bellowed to his guards.

   The two dim-witted guards approached Dave and Fry to take them to their cells. The Robot Devil’s minions may have restrained Dave’s arms, but his legs were free. A friend of Dave’s father, a fellow serviceman, and retired Navy Seal had taught Dave self-defense at a young age. Dave knew as the Seals trained, that you don’t just fight, you fight to win, whatever it takes!

   As soon as the first guard got within range, Dave swiftly brought his right leg straight up, planting the steel-toed, size 12 boot square into the guard’s groin! Everyone in the cave let out a simultaneous groan. The DOOP guard collapsed to the ground, coughing and retching.

   “Oooh, geez Dave!, did you have to give that dude a shot in the pills like that?” said Fry.
“Hey, Fry, when you learn how to fight from a Navy Seal, you use every chance you can. I saw my opportunity, and I took it!” Dave replied smugly.

   Leela was having difficulty trying to talk, as she was laughing so hard. “So Zapp, you gonna show Dave how tough you are again?” Brannigan was incensed “I SAID GET EM’ TO THE CELLS DAMMIT!” he yelled, still dabbing blood from his mouth.

   Back on the Planet Express Ship, Amy lounged in one of the ship’s hammocks back in the crew rest compartment. She lamented how much she missed Kif, how long it had been since they last saw each other in person. Amy’s train of though was interrupted by a loud beeping sound from the flight deck. She ran to answer it. “Ohmygosh, that’s Leela’s wrist Lo-jackamajigger thingy!” she gasped. Amy tried to call Leela on the two-way, and was getting increasingly nervous with each reply of only dead air.

   Amy ran down the ship’s stairwell. She saw the DOOP ship parked at the other end of the pad. Seeing no guards posted outside only made Amy frantically run faster to the ship. “Helloooo, is anyone on board?” Amy yelled as she reached the top of the ship’s boarding ramp. A muffled shout nearby caught her attention. Amy ran, turned a corner, and shrieked with joy. “KIFFF!”

   The small green-skinned DOOP officer was tied up to a chair, mouth gagged with what looked like a dirty gym sock. Amy quickly untied Kif, and pulled off the gag. Kif was breathing hard, not from lack of oxygen, but from finally being freed of the fetid sock gag.

   “Amy! Dearest! How ever did you find me?” Kif asked excitedly.

   “Leela’s wrist lo-jackamathingy went off. When I couldn’t get in contact with her, I ran over here to find some help. Why were you tied up Kiffie?”

   Kif shook his head in disgust. “Capt Brannigan is hell-bent on getting to Leela at all costs, that’s why he sought the aid of The Robot Devil. I told Zapp I wanted nothing to do with his idiotic plan, and I threatened to report this to DOOP high command. So he tied me up here to keep me out of the way until he returned with Leela.”

   Kif stood up, free from his bondage, he and Amy embraced. They hadn’t seen each other in a long time, perhaps, a little too long, as Amy hugged Kif a bit too hard. “Oooof! Uhh, Amy, too tight! Too tight!” came his muffled voice from Amy’s shoulder.  “S'ploops! Sorry, forgot about the fluid-filled bladders n’ stuff!” she said with a giggle, as she kissed his lipless mouth.

   Kif straightened up. “We have to save Leela, and the others!” he said with a stern, determined look on his face, and a new air of authority in his voice. Amy ran back to the Planet Express ship to  gather any weapons she could find, while Kif sent a priority alert to DOOP high command, and the security detachment aboard the Nimbus.

   Meanwhile, back inside the holding cells of New Robot Hell, Dave, Fry, and Bender were still sweating it out, literally. Fry, and Bender were sitting on a pile of rocky rubble, while Dave paced back and forth anxiously. The bars of the holding cell were constructed out of the same blue glowing energy beams that their hand cuffs were made of.

   “If only these were metal bars, you could bend us the hell outta here Bender!” Fry lamented. “You know it buddy! But, what are ya gonna do?” ,The robot lazily replied. Bender’s attention had turned to Dave’s frantic pacing. “’Da hell are you getting so worked up about meat bag?” he shouted.

   Dave was searching the cell. His eyes scanned over the ceiling, the walls, all the corners of the rocky ediface that made up the small cell.

   “Fry, Bender, those bars have to be getting power from somewhere. A cable, a wire bundle, some kind of conduit supplying power to them. If we find it, we can cut it, and escape!"

   A few moments of awkward silence passed. Dave had a nagging thought on his mind ever since they were captured. He stopped his search momentarily, and turned to his cellmates.

   “What the hell does that knob-shine Brannigan want with Leela? Why would he go through all this trouble to get her?" Dave said, then went back to his search for the power supply.

   Fry didn’t wait long to give his reply. “Um, well, it kinda started 8 years ago. We were sent on a mission to rescue the remaining animal population on Virgon-6, a planet that was about to explode. Anyway, Brannigan’s ship was on patrol around the planet, barring anyone from landing on the surface.” Fry dropped his gaze to the floor, his voice fell a few octaves as well.

   “Leela really loves animals, it’s one of her better qualities. Anyway, long story short, Zapp seduced her, tricked her into believing that the patrol duty had made him lonely, and depressed, and well, being the caring person that Leela is, well, she,,,you know,,,sorta wound up in bed with the idiot!”

   Dave was speechless, “So, that dirty bastard just used her?,,,like some object of conquest? A notch on his bedpost?" Dave yelled, now visibly upset. “And now he thinks of her as a piece of property, something that’s rightfully his?” Dave was furious. His pace quickened, he was feeling the beast rising up inside him. “Ahhh, calm down skin-tube!” muttered Bender.

   “Look, I’ll feel bad about this later, right now we gotta get the hell outta this place! Dave said with a renewed sense of determination.

   While Dave, and the crew searched for an escape, Zapp’s guards led Leela down a long rocky tunnel to a set of tacky, velour covered double doors. “Where are you jerks taking me?” she demanded.
“Relax eyeball!, Captain’s got special plans for you.” the lead guard barked. The guards flung open the doors, Brannigan’s voice rang out orders, “That’ll be all men! I can handle this from here, leave us!” Zapp was facing a full length mirror over in the corner, admiring himself in his usual, narcissistic fashion. Leela looked around the room. Everything was covered in velour fabric. Several velour portraits of Brannigan in victorious poses hung on the walls, each one looking more ridiculous that the next.

   “This is just a temporary hide-a-away of mine, my sweet, sweet, piece of-” Leela interjected him before he could finish his sentence “Oh kayyyy, I get it!” Brannigan walked away from the mirror, grasped two champagne flutes, and strolled over to a small chiller next to the bed. He walked back over to Leela, held out one of the glasses “Some sham-pag-an? My dear?” Leela took the glass, and immediately threw it’s contents into Brannigan’s face. “Let me go you bastard!” she growled.

   Back down in the holding cell, Dave succeeded in finding a small cable buried against the rocks in a corner of the dank, sweltering prison. “Awright! I found a wire! Bender, c’mere and break it, so we can get the hell outta here!” Dave yelled excitedly.

   Just as Dave had expected, Bender snapped the cable, the electric blue cell bars flickered, and died. Dave turned to Bender, and Fry. “We need to watch out for guards. If you see, or hear something, stop!” he whispered. Bender proceeded to dig around inside his chest cabinet, removing a parabolic microphone, and fumbling with the cord, plugged it into a jack on the side of his head.

   Bender’s mouth began to crackle with static. He pointed the microphone’s dish in several directions. Two voices began to filter through the noise. They could distinctly pick out a heated debate going on, the voices belonging to Leela, and Zapp Brannigan.

   “Bender, you found her! Quick, clean that up.” said Fry. Dave, and Fry listened intently to the argument Bender was picking up, probably traveling through a nearby ventilation shaft.

   “You jerk, do you actually think by keeping me here against my will, I’m just going to swoon all over you?" Leela yelled,
     “That’s the general idea my dear, yes!” retorted Zapp,
   “You’re crazier than I though Zapp! I-” Leela was promptly interrupted,

   “Honey, there isn’t any man alive, other than me who deserves you! We were practically made for each other!” Zapp yelled, sounding more smug with each ridiculous, mangled sentence.

   “EEUGHHH! Just a thought of you is almost enough to make me physically ill! You, are an idiot! You’re the absolute lowest of the low Brannigan! There are plenty more guys in this galaxy better that you!” Leela exclaimed, her voice booming off the walls of Zapp's quarters.

   “Ohh reeeally, who would they be Leela? That weak, idiotic delivery boy Fry? C’mon, who else? perhaps that dark-haired stranger, the “Unknown”?” Zapp began, when he too was interrupted.

   Leela was absolutely furious! She screamed so loud, Bender’s mouth-speaker almost blew out.


   Dave, and Fry looked at each other, both of their eyes were wide, they had never heard, or even seen Leela this angry, ever. Fry noticed Dave was smiling a little, and mouthing the words “ohmygod” obviously shocked. He wondered if it was just the heat of the argument, or if she really did feel that way about him. He made a mental note to ask Leela about it, if they made it out alive.

   By now, Dave, Fry, and Bender were running towards the rocky alcove they were standing in hours earlier. They remembered watching the guards take Leela through them. The stifling cavern was strangely devoid of the small demon robot sentries.

   Two small robot demons stood idly near the double doors. Dave instructed Fry & Bender to take out one, while he would deal with the other one. Dave remembered the robot’s head he smashed outside the cavern, that seemed to be the demon robot’s weakest point.

   Dave crouched along a low rock wall, waiting until Fry & Bender jumped the robot closest to them, then he would make his move on the second one. As soon as the first demon robot looked away, Fry jumped on him. Bender grabbed the small robot’s legs, holding it down, while Fry jumped savagely on it’s head, smashing it to pieces. Dave grabbed the second robot, brutally slamming it’s head into the rocks, stunning it. He placed his right foot on the robot’s torso, and with all his might, pulled it’s menacing little horned head clean off!

   Dave and Fry tossed the remains of the robots into the nearest magma pit, trying to cover their tracks, as not to alert any more guards to their breakout.

               "I'm normally against meatbag on robot violence, but I'll let it slide, just this once!" Bender said with a weepy voice, as he kicked a small piece of the demolished robot guard into the pool of bubbling hot magma.

   They silently opened one of the doors, no guards posted on the other side. The trio slid through the door, walking silently, looking down the corridor anxiously for a sign of where Leela could be. At the end of the corridor was another set of double doors, these covered with velour. “Bingo!” said Fry.
   As they came closer to the doors, scuffling and fighting could be heard on the other side. Dave, Fry and Bender burst through the doors without hesitation.

   Zapp’s two DOOP guards were trying to reign in Leela. Both had wrist restraints at the ready. One ducked as Leela hurled a metal end table at him. Over in the corner, Zapp sat in a recliner, calmly drinking a glass of champagne, his face plastered with his usual moronic grin.

   Dave saw his .45 lying on the one table Leela hadn’t thrown at the guards yet. He grabbed it, yanked the slide back, chambering the first of seven lethal 165 grain Hydra-Shok rounds. Dave pointed the pistol at the ceiling, and squeezed the trigger.

   Satisfied that his weapon worked properly, and now becoming the center of attention in the suddenly silent bedroom, all eyes were on Dave. The DOOP guards near Leela now became Dave’s next targets.

   “HANDS! REACH FOR THE CEILING, BOTH OF YOU, DO IT NOW!!!” Dave screamed at the bewildered guards. “Fry, Bender, put the cuffs on ‘em.” Bender’s eyes gleamed menacingly at the thought of getting to maybe doing a bit of smacking the guards around. “Ooooh, oooh,,,if they get outta line, can I rough em’ up a bit?” Bender asked, giggling as he talked. “Bender, if they so much as let out a whisper, you have my blessing to do just that!” Dave said, as he kept the pistol’s muzzle aimed at the larger guard’s crew-cut head.

   When the DOOP guards were tied, and gagged, Dave turned his attention to Leela, who was aiming one of the plasma rifles, taken from the now incapacitated guards, at Zapp. “You okay Leela?” he asked. “I’ll be okay when this scumbag’s been dealt with!” she hissed, while continuing to stare down the barrel at a cowering Zapp Brannigan.

   Dave stood next to Leela, speaking very quietly. “Leela, remember before, when you stopped me from doing this? Don’t do it! Let the DOOP deal with him. Leela, please don’t do this.” Leela still kept her sights firmly on Zapp. “Don’t you get it Dave? He’ll never quit, I won’t be safe, not until he’s dead!” Leela‘s arms were beginning to shake, her voice was quivering. After what felt like an eternity, Leela slowly lowered the rifle. Tears were rolling out of the left corner of her eye, she took a few steps back, letting the rifle clatter to the floor. “You’re right Dave, death is too good for him, I want him to rot in a stockade for the rest of his days!” Dave pulled her in close, holding her head against his shoulder in a long embrace, and whispered in her ear, “He’ll never harm you. I swear to you Leela, as long as I live, I won’t let him do anything to upset you ever again!”

   “Brave-oh, brave-oh! If they gave awards for being a sissy, you’d get them all!” said Zapp, as he clapped his hands in mock applause. “You forget, I’m a 25-star General Captain! I hold all the cards. No charges will stick to me, I won’t set one foot in a courtroom! And look around, you forgot that you’re still trapped, deep inside New Robot Hell. You think The Robot Devil’s just gonna let you all walk out of here?”

   Zapp’s gloating was short lived. An enormous explosion rippled through the cavern, distracting everyone long enough to enable Zapp to push an emergency alarm button on the wall. “Hahahaha! Now every guard in this place will be after you all!” he shouted, as he reached for a phazer pistol on the floor. Dave, reacting instantly, shot Zapp in his left foot, dropping him to the floor, yelling in agony.

   Leela scooped up the plasma rifle, her leadership instincts kicked back into high-gear. “Let’s go guys, we can still fight our way out!” The intrepid Planet Express crew burst through the velour-covered doors. The Robot Devil could be heard shouting orders through the doors at the other end of the corridor, as they got closer to it.

   Leela karate-kicked the doors open, an epic battle was unfolding before their eyes. Several squads of DOOP Marines were engaging the heaving masses of robot demons. Two squads of Earthican Marines met Leela, and the crew on the alcove platform, as they all dove for cover.

   “You must be Turanga Leela, My name is Lieutenant Hathcock, DOOP Security Detachment: Nimbus. My men are here under orders to rescue you, and your crew, and arrest Zapp Brannigan!” The camouflaged officer hollered over the din of battle. “Sgt. Peterson’s men are going after Brannigan, have you seen him?” Leela shouted back to the Lieutenant, “Down that hallway, look for the red velour doors, he’s wounded, but armed, so be careful Lieutenant!” The Lt. shouted orders to his sergeant, who took off running down the corridor with one squad.

   Lt. Hathcock’s remaining squad provided covering fire, as Leela, Dave, Fry, and Bender made for the huge, gaping hole where the entrance to New Robot Hell had been.

   As they reached the rocky overlook that they first saw New Robot Hell from, more Marines were shooting it out with what looked like several hundred little robot demons. They were everywhere, demons crawled over huge boulders, up & down the rocky walls, all concentrating their laser fire on the Marines. All of the sudden, they heard a shrill, high pitched voice yell “STOP THEM, KILL THEM ALL!” The Robot Devil had spotted Leela, and crew as they were moving towards the safety of the exit.

   Laser rounds burst all around them, as they dove for cover. “C’mon Bender, you gotta have some kinda weapon in that chest of yours?” Fry shouted. Bender rummaged through his chest cabinet, finally pulling out two puny-looking phazer pistols. “They’ll have to do! C’mon guys, start blasting already!” yelled Leela.

   The foursome began firing wildly at the massive robot army bearing down on them. Leela was dropping robots left and right. For someone with only one eye, she had damn good aim. Every other round she fired was a head shot! The rounds from Dave’s .45 were punching fist-sized holes in any robot that stood between them, and freedom. “We have to keep moving! GO GO GO!” shouted Dave.

   The crew was only about 50 yards from the exit, yet the laser fire never let up in intensity. The Marines were doing their best to draw the robot’s fire, but they were losing men, which lessened the Planet Express’s crew chance of escape.

   A loud rush of air, and shrill whistle rang out. A huge green object came crashing through the gaping hole in the mountainside. “Who’s flying my ship?” exclaimed Leela. The battered, green Planet Express Ship was now maneuvering in tight circles inside the cavern. Laser, and missile fire destroying The Robot Devil’s minions by the score! The ship flew closer to where Leela, and her crew were covering. Leela managed to peek up at the ship’s cockpit windows. “IT’S AMY! AMY AND KIF!” She yelled in triumph!

   Only 20 feet remained between the crew, and the exit. Dave, and Leela covered Fry and Bender as they ran flat-out for the exit. Suddenly, a laser shot grazed Fry’s left leg, he fell to the ground clutching it in pain. “Cover me Leela! Hang on Fry! I’ll get ya!” shouted Dave, as he started low-crawling towards him. “Don’t worry about me! You & Leela get outta here!” Dave flipped Fry over on his stomach, grabbing his jacket collar, he started to pull Fry to the exit. “Special Forces never leave their comrades behind Phil, and I don’t leave my friends behind! WE WILL ALL GO HOME!”

   Thanks to Amy & Kif’s daring action, the battle was turned in favor of the DOOP Marines. More robot demons fell, they were finally being forced back. Piles of burning metal that used to be robots were lying everywhere, the acrid smoke of burning electrical components filled the upper level of the cavern. Leela grabbed onto Fry’s left arm, as he was struggling to stand, and limp out under his own power.

   Daylight finally greeted the weary Planet Express crew, as they sprinted out of the colossal hole that was punched out of the mountain for the assault on New Robot Hell.

   “Okay, I think I can make it to the ship from here guys.” said Fry, as he was still being pulled by Leela, even though they exited the mountain a good 100ft ago. Leela stopped running, she bent at the waist, hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath. Fry rolled up his singed trouser leg, wincing as he saw the blackened flesh where the laser shot had grazed him.

   Leela had recovered, stood back up, and started to say something. “Great job guys! Thanks for the help back there Dav--Dave?” She didn’t notice that it was only her who pulled Fry clear of the exit. She didn’t see Dave get hit right before their miraculous escape. Leela’s gaze turned back the way they just ran from. “Oh God, no, please no!” The sound barely escaping her lips, as she broke into a furious run back towards the smoking hole, where Dave laid motionless.


Urban Legend
« Reply #16 on: 12-02-2008 23:03 »

oh hey, an update!  I've been following this story from the beginning, and its really very good.  Your prose is well developed, and you've got alot of nice characterization.  Its also nice to see Kif not being a complete pushover all the time.   
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #17 on: 12-03-2008 15:04 »

oh hey, an update!  I've been following this story from the beginning, and its really very good.  Your prose is well developed, and you've got alot of nice characterization.  Its also nice to see Kif not being a complete pushover all the time.   

I like to think that Kif gets empowered whenever Amy's with him.
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #18 on: 12-03-2008 15:47 »

Second half of Chapter 9, enjoy.

When Dave grabbed Fry’s jacket, he didn’t see Leela grab Fry’s arm, and run out with them. Just as they made it out, Dave felt two searing bolts pierce his body.  He went limp, fell down, and lost conciousness instantly.

   Leela reached Dave, she threw herself to the ground, checking to see what happened to him. She smelled burnt flesh, Two ragged holes in Dave’s back showed her where the laser bolts had found their mark. Leela started to frantically call out for a medic. She ran her hands through his matted, sweat-drenched hair, and lightly caressed his face. The sweat on her fingers made little tracks in the soot, and larger dots appeared as tears began to roll off Leela’s nose.

   “Please, please be okay, you’ve come too far to die here Dave!” Leela whispered to Dave softly between sobs. Fry, and Bender stood beside her, both stone-faced in shock. Two DOOP medics came to Dave’s aid. After checking his vitals, the lead medic, who identified himself as Colonel Pierce, spoke to Leela, as he worked to stabilize Dave.

   “He’s alive! Barely, we have to get him to triage NOW! Move it Corporal!” He yelled to the other medic, who prepared a stretcher, and transfusion bag.

   The medics double-timed back to their transport ship, Leela ran right alongside them. Dave began to regain conciousness. The painkillers had already began to take effect, but his mind was still sharp. His vision was fuzzy, and he was rolling his eyes frantically, trying to see what was gong on.

   Dave managed to turn his head to the left a little, he saw Leela jogging alongside the litter.
“Le-L-Leela!” She immediately shouted to the medics “He’s trying to talk! What do I do?” Corporal Elias instructed Leela to hold Dave’s hand, keep him awake, tell him everything’s going to be ok.

   Dave was looking right into Leela’s eye. Through the incredible pain that wracked his body, he still managed to give her a smile. Leela tried to smile back, as she kept telling him he was going to be fine.

   The DOOP transport ship was parked on the pad beside the other DOOP ship that had been used by Brannigan. Amy and Kif had finished shutting down the Planet Express ship, and were now running to the large, white transport to reunite with their co-workers, their friends!

   The two medics placed Dave’s stretcher down inside a triage area that had been set up for the wounded, and injured Marines, now marching out of the mountain, having victoriously smashed The Robot Devil’s army.

   Kif and Amy found Leela, Fry, and Bender beside the DOOP ship’s triage area. Fry, Bender, Amy, and Kif rejoiced in each other’s company. Leela, however, remained silent. She stood silently, watching the Medical staff treat Dave’s wounds.  The doctors had cut his black t-shirt off, revealing the ghastly laser bolt wounds, one on each side of his lower back area. Another doctor mixed a pink-colored gel-like compound, and began pouring it into Dave’s wounds. When he was finished, dressings, and surgical bandages covered the damage.

   Leela walked back to the group. She told Amy, and Kif how grateful she was. That if it hadn’t been for their heroics, they might have all been killed, or re-captured.

   While this discussion was going on, a group of several DOOP officers approached the Planet Express employees.

   Leela instantly recognized one of the officials as Lt. Evans, from The Nimbus. Kif snapped to attention, with a salute, which the Colonel, leading the group, promptly returned.

   “Lt. Kif Kroker I presume?” Kif immediately answered loudly “Aye Sir!” and stood proudly at attention. “Lieutenant, that was some damn good work you did to come to the aid of my Marines! Hell, we’d have gotten our asses handed to us if it hadn’t been for you, and Miss,,,” The Colonel paused, looking at Amy. “Amy Wong! Colonel Sir!” she answered, just as loud, and proud as Kif had done.

   The group continued to be interviewed by The Colonel, while on the far side of the pad, they could see several DOOP Military Police personnel escorting a limping Zapp Brannigan, arms cuffed behind him, to a waiting vessel.

   Leela excused herself from the group, and walked back to the triage area. She found Dave’s stretcher moved over to a covered shelter. He was sedated, lying on his back again, with his eyes closed. Leela could see his chest rise and fall, and breathed a sigh of relief that he was alive.

   She got the attention of a tall Neptunian nurse, “Is it okay if I see my crewmember?” The nurse opened the shelter’s screened door flap, Leela walked over to where Dave was recovering.  Leela sat down beside him, she grasped ahold of his right hand, closed her eye, and offered a silent prayer.

   When she opened her eye again, Dave had awakened, and was looking at her. He inhaled deeply, and started to speak very slow, and quietly.

   “Leela! You’re okay!, you guys made it out. Is Phil alright?”

   “He’s fine Dave.” She said with a sniffle, as she tried to fight back her emotional feeling rising up in her chest.
They sat together, hands clasped together in silence for a few minutes, when Dave found the energy to talk again. He coughed to clear his throat, and his eyes began to water up.

   “Leela? Did you really mean what you said to Zapp? About  me being a thousand times over, a better person that him?”

   Leela noticed his eyes, and grabbed a gauze pad from the tray beside the litter, gently wiping them dry. She leaned over, closer, so she could be heard as clear as possible.

   “Yes Dave, yes I did! I meant every word of it!” She couldn’t hold it back anymore, her face was contorted, as she placed a hand over her mouth to control her sobbing. “I did, oh lord yes, I meant every word of it!” she cried as she put her head down on the blanket covering Dave’s chest. His one free hand caressed her left bicep. Leela felt the emotional brick wall she’d built up inside herself, had finally come crashing down.

   Dave continued to hold onto Leela’s hand. He began coughing again, his breathing became labored. She began to panic, “Nurse! NURSE! Somebody, help us!”

   Several nurses, and a staff doctor came running. Leela stood back to let them work. Dave’s eyes were starting to roll back in his head. “Miss, you’ll have to leave” said one of the nurses.

   Dave began to yell through the ragged coughing fits “NO, Leela, I’m okay, I won’t leave you! I won’t, I’ll never!,,,Please! Don‘t go!” as the doctor administered several injections through an IV in his left hand, while three other doctors had to hold him down.

   Two medics managed to calm Leela down enough to convince her that Dave was just having a side effect from one of the trans-dermal nanoprobe patches on his wounds. Fry, Amy, and Bender had found Leela sitting beside the triage shelter, sipping water.

   Fry kneeled down beside Leela. “You okay?” Leela sighed a little “yeah” and dried the corners of her eye with the blanket draped over her shoulders.

   “Is he gonna pull through?” Fry asked. Leela told her friends Dave might be touch and go for a while. He was going to be evacuated to a hospital vessel with the Marines, but Leela decided, he would be going home with them!

   When Dave stabilized enough to be transported, Leela instructed Amy, and Fry to clear a space on the flight deck of The Planet Express ship, so the life support computer in Dave’s stretcher could be plugged into the ship’s power ports.

   With their precious human cargo loaded, sedated, and secured for the voyage home, Leela, Fry, Amy, and Bender joined Kif, and Lt. Evans outside on the pad. Kif explained that since Zapp’s arrest, he would be placed as the interim commander of The Nimbus. Lt. Evans expressed his pleasure of finally having a competent, and able commander in charge for once.

   Leela still had one nagging question for Kif, and Amy. How did they manage to organize the rescue mission in the first place?

   Amy explained how it all happened.

   “I was hangin’ out back in the crew rest bunk, when I heard Leela’s wrist-thingy start beeping over the ship’s radio. I tried to call her, but when I got no response, I thought something bad happened. So I ran over to that DOOP transport to get help. That’s where I found Kiffie all tied up. Kif told me about Zapp Brannigan’s plan, and sent an emergency message to The Nimbus for help, then we went back to our ship to gather weapons. Lt. Evans, and the Marines landed about an hour later."

   "The Marines all formed up, and started assaulting the entrance. They blew that huge hole in the mountain, that’s when all the little demon robots attacked. It was Kif’s idea to use our ship to help out, since the DOOP transports were too large to fit through the opening in the mountain."

   Leela profusely thanked Lt. Evans for saving the lives of her crew. She then inquired about Zapp’s fate would likely be.

   Lt. Evans couldn’t say much, but did say Zapp would be facing multiple charges of derelection of duty, conduct unbecoming, and unauthorized absence. The charges he couldn’t list were probably enough to put Zapp in prison for the next 30 to 75 years. Even if he wasn’t found guilty, it was safe to say that his career with The Democratic Order Of Planets was most certainly over.

   The crews exchanged good-byes, Amy walked Kif back to his ship, exchanging a series of long hugs, and kisses, until they parted. Amy stood on the pad watching, until Kif’s ship was out of sight.

   The sunset on Zuban-5 that evening was magnificent. Leela piloted the ship through the planet’s upper atmosphere at breakneck speed. When she reached the familiar confines of outer space, Leela asked Fry to take over the helm for a while, which he did excitedly.

   Leela sat down beside Dave’s stretcher, He was sleeping now. The slow, rhythmic beep from the life support computer indicated all his vitals were good. She smiled as she inspected his blanket, making sure he was tucked in securely.

   With Fry steering the ship on course for Earth, Bender keeping himself amused with a 12-pack of Olde Fortran, and Amy checking her e-mail, Leela retired to her quarters. The steaming hot shower felt good as it washed all the soot, sweat, & dirt from the hell that had transpired earlier, down the drain.

   Now dressed in her satin burgundy pajamas, Leela pulled her matching silk robe on, and pulled her long, beautiful purple hair back into her usual ponytail. Sitting down in front of her video phone, she called ahead to Planet Express to let Professor Farnsworth know that Dave had been seriously injured, and would need immediate medical care upon arrival.

   “Ohh myyy! Well, I think I’ll be able to prepare my facilities in time to begin treatment. He’ll be fine, as long as Dr Zoidberg doesn’t touch him!" The Professor said with a little grin. Farnsworth stepped out of view, as he started to end transmission, Leela could hear him yelling at Zoidberg. “Get the hell away from those organs! They’re not food! Well, not yet anyway.”

   Leela stretched out in her bunk, a long nap was just what she needed after this mission. She couldn’t fall asleep right away, her mind was still playing back the terrible events of the day. She sat upright, and looked out the porthole as the vastness of space flew by. Leela needed to tell someone about how she was feeling. She jumped out of bed, sat back in front of her video screen communicator, and flipped on a small table lamp.

   The SewerCom prompt appeared on the screen, Leela typed in her information, and as the screen flickered, a dingy, yet tidy living room appeared. “Morris,,,It’s Leela!” said Munda, excited to see her daughter’s face in the receiver.

   “Hiii Mom, hi Dad!” Leela said softly, wearing a big grin, as she always did when she saw her parents. “It’s great to see you sweetieookums! You look beautiful as always!” said Morris. “Awww, thanks Dad. I was kinda hoping to talk to Mom in private for a bit. Do you mind Dad?” Morris stood up from his recliner, “Not at all dear.” as he walked out of the room. Munda glanced in the direction Morris left, making sure he was out of earshot.

   “What’s wrong dear? You didn’t get stood up again did you?”

   “Ohh, no, no Mom, it’s not that. I just,,,I just wanted to tell you that I love you guys. We nearly got blasted into oblivion today, again,,, you know,,,same ol’ song & dance.”

   “Leelaaa, come on, what’s bothering you? I promise, your father isn’t here.”

   “*sigh!* Okayyy. Mom. Two months ago, one of Professor Farnsworth’s inventions malfunctioned. It accidentally brought this guy here to 3008 from the year 2008. I know it sounds crazy, because you know Fry’s also from the 20th century, but it’s true." Munda continued to listen intently.
   "Two weeks ago, I was out shopping, and these two muggers tried to jump me on my way home. If he hadn’t been there to help me, I don’t know what might have happened to me." Munda muttered a silent “oh dear” and covered her mouth with one of her tentacles.
   “Then, today, we were taken prisoner on Zuban-5. He rallied my friends, and rescued me! It was awesome!” Leela’s smile faded as fast as it appeared. “but then, he got shot twice as he was helping us escape, and pulling Fry out of danger. Mom, I literally fell to pieces when I was talking to him, as the doctors were patching him up. I,,,I think I really love him!"

   “Awwww, that’s sweet dear, but take things slow, be careful. It pains me really bad whenever someone breaks your heart honey! You’re a wonderful woman Leela, you deserve to be with a man who will love you for who you are.”

   “Thanks Mom! I suppose I get that from you, right?”

   “Wellll, I suppose you’ve got a point honey. Your father loved me at first sight, and told me his love became even stronger as he got to know me better."

   Leela beamed as she heard her mother say that. “Awwww”

   “Well, he did talk me out of killing someone. Only one other person’s ever done that for me. You really think I should give him a chance?”

   Munda smiled back at her daughter. “Are those new Pjs dear? They look good with your hair.”

   “If things go well with this guy, I’d really love to introduce him to you and Dad. I think you’d really like him.”

   “Well, I’d be honored to meet a man who would risk his life twice for my only daughter.” came the sound of Morris’s voice from off screen. Munda looked cross, as she glared in the direction his voice traveled from.

   “Daaaaaad? You said you wouldn’t listen in!” replied Leela. “Well, thanks Mom, thanks Dad, I’m glad we could talk. I’m gonna get some rest now, we’ll talk later, goodnight.”

   “Goodnight Leela, we love you so very much! Take care!” said Leela’s parents in unison, as the screen flickered off.

   Leela flicked off the small light on the desk. She removed her silk robe, draping it over a chair, and crawled back into her bunk. Leela lay still, as the ambient starlight cast a faint glow through the porthole. Before she fell asleep, she paged Fry over the intercom, asking him to only disturb her if something went wrong with the ship, or if Dave was in any danger.

   Amy periodically checked on Dave, making sure his medical readout still showed his vital signs were stabilized, and he wasn’t having difficulty breathing.

   Fry glanced in Dave’s direction as well. He felt the dull ache in his leg where a laser bolt could have very well taken it completely off. Fry remembered what Dave said about not leaving him behind. He made a mental note about buying beers for the both of them when they got home.

   As Dave slept, his mind was dwelling on Leela. The memory of the night he came to her rescue in the rain-slicked alley kept replaying. He remembered how it felt to hold her, how her hair smelled, how perfect, and beautiful her face was. He dreamed that they were together, walking arm in arm along a country road in early autumn. Huge fields of wheat grew on both sides of the road. They walked slowly, admiring the setting sun against the high cirrus clouds, and the deep cobalt blue sky overhead, as the clouds took on a pink hue. An old Queensryche song was also playing in his head. Dave hadn’t felt this happy in years. He wished this dream would never end.

(On approach to Earth, 08/13/3008 - 0900 NNY time)

   Fry began to slow the ship down as it entered the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The flight deck door slid open, and Leela walked out, dressed in her usual attire. She kneeled down beside Dave, who had begun to stir, as the bumps of re-entry had shaken the ship.

   “Fry, capture the fastest GPS approach to New New York, we have to get Dave to the Professor as quickly as possible.” said Leela.

   “Already took care of it Leela. We’ll be home in 10 minutes, and The Professor will be waiting.”

                "Good work Fry!" she said, placing a hand on his shoulder, giving him a huge grin.

   She turned her attention back to Dave. Looking at his medical computer, she saw that his breathing was normal, temperature normal, but his heart rate was getting a little high. That could have meant trouble, or more likely it meant that his eyes were open, and he was gazing at Leela again.

   “Hi there! You’re looking better.” she said to Dave, with a big smile. “We’ll be landing in about 10 minutes, then The Professor will fix you up, good as new!”

   Dave was very weak, but managed to give her a big smile. “Thanks Leela! I couldn’t ask for anything more! Amy, Fry, Bender, you guys too! Thanks to all of you, we’re all gonna make it home!”

   The big, green delivery ship came to rest with a thump inside the Planet Express building. Fry, and Leela carried Dave off the ship, and straight to The Professor’s lab, where he was waiting.

   Two hours later, Farnsworth had everyone gathered back in his lab. A large muslin sheet hung as a partition, concealing his latest creation.

   “Good news everyone! Our time-traveling friend, Dave, is recovering nicely. I managed to convert the Clone-O-Matic machine I used to create my clone, Cubert, into The Heal-O-Matic! Enabling Dave’s wounds to be healed 54.9% faster, than if he were to be treated by traditional methods,,,or Zoidberg!”

   Farnsworth pulled back the sheet revealing the large, cylindrical tank filled with a strange, green liquid. Inside, Dave’s body floated motionlessly. He was dressed only in a pair of black boxer-brief underpants. He appeared to be sleeping, as he did not move when the sheet was pulled back. Tiny probes floated around Dave’s body, and two larger ones were perched on his back, waving their mechanical arms from side to side rapidly. Farnsworth explained how the probes were generating new skin cells, and weaving them across the two perforations on Dave’s back, where the lasers had hit him.

   “How long is he gonna be in there?” asked Fry, as he curiously tapped on the glass. Farnsworth directed their attention to a large screen that displayed an overhead view of a human form. Dave’s vitals were displayed on both sides. Red symbols marked where the probes were working. “Not much longer, two days should do it.” Zoidberg stood idly in the corner of the room. “Hooray!, then maybe I can have my home back?”, “QUIET YOU!” shouted Farnsworth.

   No deliveries were scheduled for the entire week, a rare occasion, even for the normally slow summer. Fry, and Leela constantly checked in on Dave’s progress. Farnsworth had given him a powerful sedative, one that would keep him in a state of dreamless sleep for 72 hours, while the healer probes repaired his injuries.
   Farnsworth explained that his sedative would let Dave experience no dreams, preventing him from waking up in the event of a nightmare, or flashback. Nevertheless, The Planet Express employees would make attempts to talk to Dave, as if there might be a slight chance he could hear them.

   Bender would mostly drink, and poke fun at him. Zoidberg kept trying new stand-up material, clearly an effort in futility. Fry would pull the TV into the lab every few hours, along with a chair, to keep Dave company. The most heartfelt display was by Leela. One night, after everyone else had gone home, she stayed behind. She pulled open the heavy drapes covering the balcony doors, letting the moonlight filter into the lab, illuminating a small area of the floor in front of the Heal-O-Matic tank, as she sang a very beautiful, operatic ballad for him.

(Planet Express Building, 08/15/3008 - 1315 NNY time)   

   Most of the Planet Express employees were gathered at the large round conference table overlooking the hangar area. Hermes had taken advantage of the slow work week to give what seemed like a never-ending series of diatribes about how they all had to improve the company’s efficiency, and what cutbacks were going to be put into effect. Bender tuned out Hermes as usual, Fry had his head down on the table, groaning with his mouth open. Leela was alternating between sipping coffee, and typing down information into her wrist computer. Zoidberg was the only one sitting, listening intently, probably just happy to be included in a group activity.

   “GOOD NEWS EVERYONE!” shouted Farnsworth, as he stood in the doorway, connecting the conference area with the TV lounge. He continued to stand in the doorway, arms raised, but not saying anything.

   “Uhhh, you were saying something Professor?” said Leela

   “Eeuughwhaaa?, Oh Yes! I did!, Thank you Leela.” Replied Farnsworth, snapping out of his moment of senility.

   Farnsworth didn’t say a word. He stepped to one side of the doorway, and everyone seated around the table went wide-eyed, and scrambled to their feet in amazement.

   “And how is everyone today?” said a very happy, very energetic Dave Murphy!

   He strolled into the conference area, grasping The Professor’s shoulder, not squeezing too hard, but firm enough to show his gratitude.

   Hooting, and hollering rang out all around. Dave had made a complete recovery. The Heal-O-Matic had done it’s job perfectly, though Dave would have two small scars to add to the other ones on his back.

   Fry jokingly punched Dave in the arm, laughing a bit. “Thanks again or pulling me outta that hole!”
   “Anytime Phil, Anytime!” Dave replied sincerely.  Bender started to shadowbox playfully with Dave, both of them laughing. “Heyyy, you’re alright skin tube! A real credit to your species!”

   Dave turned around, he saw who he’d been thinking about for the past 3 days. Leela was standing next to the table, arms folded behind her back, nudging the floor with the toe of her boot. “Ohhh, the hell with it!” She walked up to Dave, threw both arms around his neck, and hugged him harder than she ever hugged him before. She pulled back, looking at him. “I’m so happy you’re alive. You mean a lot to me Dave.” Leela brought her smiling face closer to his, then gently pressed her lips against his, in an embrace that felt like a bolt of lightning rushing through their very souls!

La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #19 on: 12-16-2008 01:58 »

Here's part 1 of Chapter 10. big grin

Chapter 10


(Planet Express Building, Monday - 08/08/3008, 1330 hours)

   Three weeks had passed since the violent encounter with The Robot Devil, and a rogue Zapp Brannigan on Zuban-5. Work for the Planet Express employees returned to normal, Dave used most of the time to further recover his strength, a result of nearly dying from laser weapon fire. He mostly helped Professor Farnsworth out around the lab while he finished his convalescence.

   A sharp knock on the front door broke Fry and Bender out of their state of relaxation on the couch. Hermes walked into the lounge, escorting a young dark-haired woman, sharply dressed in a smart-looking white, and gold dress uniform, and displaying the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade of The Democratic Order Of Planets, “Judge Advocate General” corps.

   “Everyone, ‘dis is Lieutenant Sims. She’s ‘ere to interview all of you who went on ‘dat delivery to Zuban-5 last week.” announced Hermes.

   Bender shifted his eyes sinisterly from side to side, while rummaging through his chest cabinet.

   “Psst! Fry, I need you to hold something for me!” he said, as he passed a small, black bag in Fry’s direction.

   “Okay, you want it in the mattress, or jar buried in the back alley?” Fry asked.

   “Ahhh, just toss it in Zoidberg’s office. Nobody ever goes in there, heh heh!”

   Zoidberg spoke from the next room. “IIII knowww, it’s true! BWAAAA AAAAHHHH!” he shrieked, while bawling his eyes out.

   Hermes led everyone out into the kitchen/conference area, where Amy, Leela, and Dave were already seated. Hermes took his own seat, as he turned the meeting over to Lt. Sims.

   “Good morning. My name is Lieutenant Jeannie Sims. The DOOP Judge Advocate General lead investigator has assigned me the task of interviewing all of you concerning last week’s incident on Zuban-5.”

   Lt. Sims opened her briefcase, and removed some official looking forms. “I’ll need a written statement from all of you before I interview each person on an individual basis.”

   She took care of the easiest interview first. Lt. Sims removed a 6-inch metal stick-like device from her briefcase, walked around the table to Bender, and inserted the device into the back of his head.

   “Mr. Bender, please copy all relevant data, images, and video from the August 15, 3008 delivery mission to Zuban-5.”

                Bender’s eyes flickered rapidly, and the sound of an audio tape squealing in rewind could be heard emanating from his mouth. The stick device ejected itself when the transfer was complete. “Thank you Mr. Bender, I’m finished with you.” Bender stood up, cracked open a fresh Pabst Blue Robot, and headed for the TV lounge. “Later flesh-piles!” he muttered, as he lit a cigar.

   “Mister Philip J. Fry, I’ll speak with you next.” Lt. Sims said while scanning through some documents in her briefcase.

   Fry couldn’t help but stare at her. She was downright gorgeous! Lt. Sims had long brown hair, that was tied up and back in a tight bun, military standard of course. She had a fair complexion, with small clusters of freckles on her cheeks, under her almond shaped eyes. Fry also noticed that she was well built. A shaped and toned physique, much in the same way Leela was. Lt. Sims was a bit taller, nearly as tall as the 6-foot 5-inch door frame.

   Fry smiled, as he caught a whiff of the perfume the Lieutenant was wearing, as he followed her to Hermes’s office. He liked how she carried herself, casual, but with an air of authority, very dignified.

   Lt. Sims briefly walked back to the conference area to retrieve one more item needed for the interview, when Leela got her attention.

   “Will your interview with Fry take long Lieutenant? My pet, Nibbler needs a walk.” Lt. Sims stared at Leela’s unusual pet over in the corner, noisily grooming himself. “It should only take an hour at the most Miss Turanga. By all means, take your time, I can interview the others before you.”

   Leela grabbed Nibbler’s leash, clipped the lead onto his collar, and headed for the door. Dave had just bounded up the stairs from the hangar bay, and stood in front of her. “Mind if I join you both Leela?” She smiled warmly, “Sure, I’d like that.” as Nibbler began to chatter excitedly.

   The streets & sidewalks outside of the Planet Express building shimmered in the early September heat.  “Woooh! It’s like being back home!” Dave remarked, as he pulled his red and silver #29 Kevin Harvick pit cap down low, to cut down some of the glare from the glass windows of the adjacent buildings.

   “You ever been down to Florida in the summertime Leela?” Dave asked, as they crossed to the next block.

   “Yeah, twice, unfortunately on business. It’s not really my favorite place to go for fun anyway, too many cranky old people, and the 30-foot Palmetto Bugs I guess.” she said with a slight giggle.

   “Yeah, you got a point about that. But it’s not all bad, there’s some special places I’ve been to that are just beautiful." Dave paused for a moment after finishing.

   Leela walked a few more feet before she noticed Dave stopped. i]“What wrong Dave? You feelin' ok?”[/i] she asked, with a cautionary tone. Dave saw by her eye movement, she was looking him all over to see if he was about to have some kind of emergency.

   Dave stared at the sidewalk for a few seconds before bringing his eyes back up, and level with Leela’s eye. “Leela, I’ve got to tell you something. Professor said that I wouldn’t be able to see, or hear anything while I was in that medical tube. He was half right. Leela, I have to say, I really liked that song you sang that night. I didn’t know you had such a beautiful voice!” He said, while grinning.

   Her face broke into a huge grin, “Awwww”, she whispered, as she walked back towards where he stood, her left hand outstretched. “Come on, we better get back to give our statements.” as she gently took his right hand.
   Dave and Leela walked hand in hand back towards the Planet Express building. The afternoon sun ducked behind a few fleeting clouds, as a quick breeze floated in from The East River.

   “Thanks, I didn’t know why I sang that song, but I guess part of me believed that you’d hear it. It’s an aria from an old Neptunian opera. I first heard it as a little girl, and I’ve loved it ever since.”

   A blast of cool air greeted them as they walked through the main entrance of The Planet Express building. Amy was now being interviewed by Lt. Sims, as the lighted sign on Hermes’s office door indicated “CHEWING OUT IN PROGRESS”.

   Nibbler scampered off to do whatever, as Dave & Leela settled onto the couch in the TV lounge to watch Morbo, the news monster ranting loudly about how the voice talent for the widely popular animated TV series “The Simpletons” was putting the stops on their 63rd season by striking, due to the cast wanting a pay raise from 5.5 million per-episode, to 7.2 million.

   Dave walked out to the small kitchenette area, and returned with two ice-cold bottles of beer. He sat beside Leela, snapped off the caps, and handed her one.

   “I want to ask you something Leela.” Dave said, as he turned the TV’s volume down. He summoned all the courage he could find deep down, down in the very bottom of his heart.

   “If you’re not doing anything this Friday, would you like to join me for dinner?”

   Leela’s eye blinked rapidly, and she gasped suddenly, as if she had been underwater too long. Her mind raced, as she had been waiting for a moment like this for a very long time.

   “Whoa! Whoa! I didn’t mean to scare you Leela, if I did, I’m sorry. It’s just that I fig-” Leela instantly placed both of her hands down on top of his, as she interrupted.

   “Oh, no no no, I wasn’t, uh, I mean it’s not that Dave. You just kinda took me by surprise that’s all.” She said, giggling like a school girl. “Yes!,,,, of course! I’d love to Dave!”

   Dave smiled back at her, with just as much excitement in his eyes. “Great. I had some help from Bender. He knows a guy who owns this place, , , Elzar’s is what it’s called, I think. Bender said the owner owed him a little favor. Sooo, Friday, 8pm sound good?”

   Leela thought “A favor, for Bender? Blackmailed is more like it” She laughed it off. “Eight sounds just fine, and Elzar’s is a great place Dave. I can’t wait!”

   Just about then, Amy walked out from giving her statement, followed by Lt. Sims. “David K. Murphy? I’ll take your statement next please.” as Leela jumped up from the couch, and ran out to the conference area to tell Amy the good news.

   Zoidberg suddenly ran screaming the other way. Both of his pincer-tipped arms outstretched, and a large fin raised up on his head. Professor Farnsworth quickly gave chase in his Hover-recliner. Shaking one fist in anger, and holding a syringe in the other. “Get back here you idiotic invertebrate! If I don’t give you the antidote, it’s eventually going to fall off! STAND STILL!” Loud sounds of scuffling came from Professor’s lab, and he emerged a few moments later, covered in ink, and holding the empty syringe with it’s needle bent in several different angles.

(Robot Arms Apartments, Unit #00100100, Tuesday - 09/06/3008, 0500 hours)

   Dave sat on the edge of the battered, old sofa in the center of the small apartment that Fry & Bender called home. He wrote a hastily prepared note on a bar napkin set on the makeshift coffee table, telling Fry that he was not going to be around the office today, that he had to go out and find a way to scare up some quick cash  for a special “event” later in the week.

   He barely had set the note down, and grabbed the keys to his hover-truck, when a bleary-eyed Philip J. Fry came stumbling into the living room, clad only in underpants. Fry noticed Dave heading for the door, the first splinters of daylight breaking through the large bay window.

   “Dave, hey, where you goin’ this early?” he said sleepily. Dave mentioned to Fry that he’d left a note, but since he was awake, he’d might as well tell him.

   “Phil, I need to go scare up some quick cash, so I was going to try and sell some of my 20th century stuff. I don’t know how long I’ll be, so I probably won’t be around the office until later.”

   Fry laughed, “Cash? Heh!, what , you gotta date or something?”

   Dave quietly replied “Yeah, this Friday, and I’ve got to buy something decent to wear, and Elzar‘s isn‘t exactly Fishy Joe‘s-priced either.”

   “Ohhhhhh, I get it! So, who’s the lucky lady?” asked Fry

   Dave felt like he was treading on broken glass barefoot. There was no easy way to tell Fry about it, even though he felt like Fry should be the last person in the world to know.

   He looked Phil straight in the eye. “Fry, I asked Leela out. I finally did it, and she said yes!”

   Fry looked as if someone just slapped him, but only for a split-second.
“Oh, I see, um, okay. You might wanna try the Old Technology Museum over in the Nerdlinger District. After all the stuff I’ve sold em’, they outta have a wing named after me.”

   And with that, Dave grabbed his keys, and headed out. Fry slumped onto the sofa, his eyes wandered over to the small framed picture across the room. The picture of him and Leela riding on Zoidberg’s back, it was the one he’d never forget. “Oh well, at least this time she isn’t going out with some self-centered jerk!” he muttered “But so help me god, if he hurts her!”

   Fry sat on the couch for another hour before he woke up Bender. They had an early meeting today, and they needed to get going.

   “Awhhhhah! I was having the most wonderful dream Fry.” Bender said, as he yawned and stretched his Extend-O-Matic arms.

   “Lemme guess, you killed all the humans?”[/] Fry asked.

   “Hey, you’re good at this Fry. How’d you know?”

   “Oh, lucky guess Bender, just lucky. C’mon, we don’t wanna keep Hermes, and his overly-detailed briefing waiting.” Fry said, as they exited the double doors of their apartment building, and headed in the direction of the Planet Express building.

   Meanwhile, across town, the first rays of sunlight arced across the façade of an ordinary looking 10-storey apartment building. Through a wide panorama window, golden sunshine played across a sleeping human form under powder blue satin sheets. The sunlight crept further along, illuminating a mane of long, purple hair.

   The warm sunbeam shining through the window caressed Leela’s face, as she began to awake. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a full, uninterrupted night’s sleep, at least not without the aid of a sleeping pill, or a few shots of Sewervo Gold. Leela smiled as she admired the cloudless, deep blue morning sky contrasting against the New New York skyline. She stood, and stretched. Soft popping sounds came from her neck and back, as she stretched her arms up to the ceiling, and rolled her head in a clockwise motion.

   Nibbler jumped up on the foot of the bed, begging hungrily. “Oh boyyy! I know who’s hunnngryyyy!” Leela said smiling, as she scratched him behind the ear. Nibbler ran excitedly out to the kitchen, as Leela pulled on a pink robe over her rumpled pajamas. She winced at the sight of the robe’s threadbare sleeves, and the few other places it had worn spots.

   As Nibbler feasted happily on a huge, raw ham, Leela quickly showered, and dressed for work. She thought of her mother, as she looked at herself in the mirror while pulling her hair up into her usual ponytail. “Mom was right, the bangs do look better pulled to the left.”[/]

   Leela stepped out of the apartment building, attached the small leash to Nibbler’s collar, and headed for work. Miss Hattie, Leela’s landlady was yelling furiously at a sanitation worker. She always yelled at the garbage men, for either making too much noise, or not enough noise. “Oh lord, I hope she doesn’t start throwing her cats at em’ like last week.” Leela thought, as she crossed the street.

   A large billboard on a roof across the street caught Leela’s attention. “Polygamy! Hey, It’s Legal Now!” which featured a single, tuxedoed man, and dozens of women in bridal gowns waving excitedly. She had a fleeting thought about marriage. It was the farthest thing in her mind, but it was still something she felt a strong desire for. A loving relationship, kids, family life, Leela still asked herself every now & then if those things would ever come to her.

   “One step at a time. Remember, you do have a date Friday night!” Leela’s spirits immediately perked up as she thought about Dave. Her mind raced as she started running down the list in her mind of what she was going to wear, what should she do with her hair, did she have any of that special perfume from Dionysus-12 left?

   Leela‘s internal dialogue continued to battle on. “Ohhh no, I really do have a date! Maybe I’m rushing into things again. All those other guys wanted only one thing, I wound up getting used. I don’t want to be hurt anymore!" Leela wished her mom was there to calm her down.

(Planet Express Building, Tuesday, 08/23/3008 - 0715 hours)

   The entire Planet Express crew assembled at the conference table. Hermes walked in carrying several 8x10 manila envelopes, all bearing the official seal of The Democratic Order Of Planets.

   “Alright people! Most of you ‘ave just been subpoenaed by da DOOP to testify in a court-martial on Thursday, September 22nd.” said Hermes, as he dealt the envelopes out to their respective recipients like poker cards. “Where is Mista Murphy? he’s included in ‘dis as well.” he said in his hearty Jamaican accent.

   “Oh, he had to go run some personal errands. He said he’d come by a little later and hang out.” Fry added.

   “Dat man’s lucky he don’ work here. I’m handin’ out subpoenas! It’s one of da tings a Bureaucrat loves to do! Why I’d fire him for not being ‘ere to get served with this faster that a brush fire in a sugar cane field!!!” Hermes said, as he angrily waved the remaining letter in the air.

   “Allllright Rasta mon! Calm down. When he gets here, I’ll give it to him.” Leela assured him.

   “Good news everyone!” Shouted Farnsworth, as he shuffled back into the TV lounge. “I finally repaired the malfunctioning matter transporter! Come on out, let me show you!” as he cackled madly.

   The entire Planet Express crew assembled down on the hangar floor in front of the huge steel ring at the top of a wide loading ramp. Banks of computers on either side whirred, beeped, and emitted a steady hum from their cooling fans.

   “I finally managed to configure the transporter to send items back and forth through the space-time continuum. Here, I’ll mail this package to myself in the year 2950.”

   Professor Farnsworth attached a ‘signature required’ document in a tube onto the box. He typed the destination into the computer, and the transporter’s ringed portal flared to life. He gently placed the box into the swirling electric blue portal, and it was forcefully sucked from his hands.

   After a few moments, the swirling electric blue mass came to life again. A small plastic cylinder ejected from the portal, Farnsworth grabbed it. Upon opening the tube, he showed everyone his younger self’s signature, indicating the package’s successful transaction.

   “STOP WHAT YOU’RE DOING!” A deep baritone voice echoed across the hangar. Everyone looked around to find the source, when the voice spoke again.

   Nibbler was standing on the conference table dressed in a light blue military-style uniform, a tiny phazer pistol gripped in his paw. “If you use that device to send him back, there will be dire consequences for the entire universe!” His speech was cut short by several blasts of water from a squirt bottle Leela was holding.

   “NO, bad Nibbler! No table! No table, down, down, down!” She yelled as she shooed him off of the conference table. The little black and white creature made a beeline for the matter transporter.

   “Ohhh sure, squirt him when he jumps on the table, but when it’s my machine, oooh, let’s let him do as he pleases!” Farnsworth grumbled, as Nibbler scampered across the computer consoles.

   Nibbler directed his steely gaze at everyone standing around the transporter. “I tell you all, the device must not be used! He must not be returned! For as we speak, malevolent forces are conspiring to usher in a new, and terrifying era of death and destruction, not just to Earth, but the known universe as we know it!”

   Nobody said a word, the silence grew extremely uncomfortable. Finally, Leela spoke. “What are you talking about? Return who? Your not making any sense!”

   Nibbler was muttering to himself, as he scratched his chin. “He must not yet know.”

   “Not know what yet? Is this some sort of Nibblonian prophecy thing again?” said Leela, sounding more concerned.

   “Yes Leela! Our seers have foreseen a horrible event. The forces conspiring against Earth, and the universe are being led by three evil beings. One Human, One Robot, and one unknown from a galaxy far, far away!”

   Leela and the others looked very much perplexed. Nibbler’s revelation had clearly confused them.
   “But who are the ones you say will fight them?” asked Fry. “You are ‘The Mighty One‘. Your lack of the Delta brain-wave makes you immune to psyonic attack, Philip J. Fry.” Fry recoiled a bit, as he was not used to being called by his full name. 

   “Turanga Leela, you are ‘The Other‘. We discovered you many years ago. A child of destiny, who would grow in solitude, and with much difficulty. We believe that your strong resolve, your leadership, and your unwavering faithfulness to those you love, are indicators of  what ‘The Other’ would possess. You are destined to lead this fight.” Nibbler said.

   “So who’s the third hero in this whole crapshoot eh? I think it might be some kinda bending robot!” Bender said excitedly, as he lit an enormous Kooparillo cigar.

   “The third one, the being known as David Murphy, he is “The Other, Other”. I was responsible for bringing him here, not Bender’s tomfoolery, which you were all led to believe.” the little creature admitted.

   “But why the secrecy Nibbler? Why didn’t you tell us two and a half months ago when he arrived here?” Leela said, looking more agitated.

   “I knew that Professor Farnsworth could have repaired his matter transporter within hours of Mr. Murphy’s arrival, and could have returned him to the year 2008 before he regained consciousness. That was a chance I couldn’t risk. I had to keep disabling the transporter to keep him here.”

   Amy blurted out “What makes the three of them the special chosen ones?”

   Nibbler’s answer stunned them all. “My superiors would have me imprisoned for eons if this information leaked out to the wrong individuals. What I say never leaves this room. There is an energy force that originated on my home planet, Eternium. It was there before my race was created, and about 25 minutes before the known universes! It is a conscious being, and it is believed that this force helped create every single known universe. It’s energy flows through every living thing. It is sentient, it feels the delicate balance of good and evil. A thousand years ago, it sensed a great evil gathering. The high seers of Eternium were told of three individuals that would rise to battle the evil. Exactly what makes you three special is unknown. It is inside your very souls, you cannot see it, or feel it."

   Leela had to sit down, this was just too weird to believe. Her mind was flying again, faster than an IASRA pro-circuit racing vessel. In a flash, she jumped to her feet, yelling angrily at Nibbler.


   “Why me Nibbler? WHY NOW? Just when I think my life couldn’t get any more complex, you just drop this bomb on me, out of nowhere, and you just think I can comprehend it? I can’t be the savior for one universe, let alone them all! AHHHHH!" She screamed as she pressed her hands against the sides of her head, grimacing with her eye closed tightly.

   Nibbler began to explain why things were the way they were, but Leela wasn’t in the mood for his overly-technical explanation. She reacted in a way that scared all in the room. Growling angrily, Leela picked up her now empty coffee mug, hurling it like a major-league Blernsball pitcher would, right against the wall, the crash of broken ceramic echoing across the hangar. She was absolutely livid!

   “I need to get out of here, before I go completely insane!” she said, sounding very upset, her voice strained from her outburst. Her eye was wide with rage, Fry could have sworn he saw what looked like flames in her cornea, for all but a fraction of a second.

   The remaining Planet Express employees all looked at Nibbler. He looked down, very dejected, speaking softly to the group. He began to retreat slowly to his makeshift pile of bedding in the corner that Leela had lovingly made by sewing old carpet remnants together. “If this continues, then there will be no hope for anyone, anywhere.”

   A few hours later, the distinct whine of Dave’s hover-truck resounded at the back of the hangar near the roll-up door. He opted to leave his truck outside the building, since more often than not, one of Professor Farnsworth’s malfunctioning inventions came close to damaging it.

   Fry, Bender, and Amy were camped out on the sofa, in the usual way, enjoying the latest episode of “All My Circuits”.

   “Hey guys, what’s up?” Dave greeted them, as he flipped off his sunglasses. Fry attempted a quick “whattup” while guzzling a Slurm at the same time.

   “Will you shut the hell up meatbag! Calculon’s trying to give his own eulogy again!” ranted Bender. Amy glanced up at Dave, but said nothing. She slumped against the side of the couch’s armrest, with a look of sadness on her normally cheerful face.

   Dave walked out into the hangar, expecting to find Leela busy doing something to the ship. Except for a small light above the stove in the kitchenette, the hangar was pitch black. Small green and red LEDs glowed in the distance, indicating ground power cables were connected to the ship. “Leela? Are you out here?” he called.

   He turned to walk back to the TV lounge, but saw Amy’s silhouetted figure standing in the doorway. “Hey Amy, you seen Leela around?” A deep male voice came from the darkness behind him, scaring him a little.

   “She has gone.” the voice said. A small white glowing orb started moving closer. It grew brighter as it came closer. Dave and Amy could see it was Nibbler. His third eye atop his head emitted the strange white glow. “Have a seat Mr. Murphy.”

   Dave’s eyes got wide from the surprise. He’d never heard, let alone knew that Nibbler could talk. “Amyyyy, did Nibbler just speak in perfect English?”

   “Spluuuh, he never shuts up!” She said, slumping in her seat, arms folded.

   “Listen very closely to what I must tell you David Murphy. For you must know why you’re here.”

   Nibbler re-told Dave about what destiny has charged him, Fry, and Leela with. Nibbler scooched back a little, expecting to be strangled, like Fry had done to him, when he told Dave it was him who used Farnsworth’s matter transporter to bring him a thousand years into the future, and not Bender’s fault.

   Dave could feel bile rising in his throat, he was that angry. “So let me get this straight, you brought me 1,000 years into the future, away from my family, who I may never see again, to a strange city, where I know absolutely no-one. Am I right so far?” Dave said, his face showing the increasing rage in the pale light from Nibbler’s lighted orb.

   “Please, you must understand. I’m merely a soldier following orders. Surely someone from a military background like you can understand that.”

   “Of course! I understand perfectly!” Dave hissed, as he reached out & grabbed Nibbler by the throat.

   “Then,,,(cough) why,,,,are,,,you,,,choking,,,me?” Nibbler spluttered, as Dave was now gripping the little creature around the neck, shaking him in the air.

   “Because, I HATE BEING USED!” Dave growled, as he loosened his grip on Nibbler’s throat.   

   Dave slumped back down in his chair. He felt bad for choking Nibbler, and apologized. He turned to Amy.

   “How did Fry, and Leela take this good news?”

   Amy sat up “Fry didn’t seem too upset, but Leela went psycho-tronic, and stormed out.”

   “Where is she now?” Dave asked, sounding very concerned.

   Bender interjected “Who, Big Boots? She went where she always goes when life goes upside her head, The Sewers!”, the darkness turning to bright light, as Bender let loose a huge alcohol-fueled flaming belch.

   Dave bolted from his seat, drawing Fry’s attention as he sprinted past the lounge, and out the door to the alley where his truck was parked. The reality of Nibbler’s revelation still angered Dave, not just because he had become a pawn in some galactic chess match, but it had also seriously upset Leela.

   Furiously digging though his personal effects inside the truck, Dave searched for rope, a flashlight, and anything else that could aid him underground. He retrieved his battered old MagLite D-cell flashlight, and a few road flares that were hiding under the seats.

   Fry met him as he walked back into the building. “ I heard what Nibbler told you. Looks like we’re all in this thing together.”

   Dave gave Fry a pensive look, and tried to calm himself. “Yeah, I’d feel much better if could talk to Leela about this. There’s gotta be hundreds of miles of sewer pipe under this city, where could she have gone?”


   “Oh, well, if I know Leela, she went to her Mom & Dad’s place. Everyone calls it a sewer, but it used to be Old New York, where I grew up. You’ve never seen Old New York have you?”

   “No,,, well, technically yes Fry, back around 1991, before my family moved to Florida.” Dave replied.

   Fry’s eyes brightened, “C’mon, I’ll show you where they live. Her folks are pretty cool too, you’ll like them.”
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #20 on: 12-16-2008 02:35 »

Part 2. big grin

(The Decaying Ruins of Old New York - Tuesday 08/09/3008, 1445 hours)

   Dave jammed the end of the steel pry bar into the edge of the manhole cover. He gave a mighty pull to raise the cover, but as soon as he put pressure on the bar, the cover automatically retracted.

   Fry entered the hole first, as he’d done several times before. They only descended the ladder a few feet, before the foul odor of raw sewage, and decay filled their nostrils.

   “Dave, if you’re gonna puke, try an’ tilt your head that way, so I don’t get hit.” Fry said.

   “Aw hell, I’ve smelled worse Phil. It’s gonna take a lot more than raw sewage & rotten garbage to make me sick.” Dave answered.

   When the two of them reached the bottom of the ladder, Dave clicked the flashlight on. He was glad he’d converted it to LED bulbs, since the darkness seemed to go on forever.

   “I know the way. Two rights, then a left, and straight on, until we come to the town.” Fry said, as Dave handed him the flashlight.

   They turned the first corner, two objects were casting shadows at the end of the dimly lit tunnel. Dave could tell they were moving. “How many people live down here Phil?” Fry told Dave about how only mutants lived in the sewers, and how they were forbidden from coming above ground.

   One of the shadowy figures lit a torch. Dave’s left hand instinctively reached into his right armpit, but Fry saw what he was doing, “Wait, no need for that just yet, let’s see who they are first.”

   Dave and Fry walked another 30 or 40 yards. The mutants began to come into better view. Dave could see the one holding the torch. This one was tall, at least 7 feet, and had strange appendages sticking out of his head. Finally, they came within 10 feet or so of each other.

   “Philip Fry, is that you?” a gravely feminine voice called out. Fry pointed the flashlight at her. She had pale green scaly skin, a pig nose, what appeared to be gills, and she had a long cigarette hanging out of the corner of her mouth.

   Fry instantly recognized, and greeted them. “Hey Vyolet, hey Moose, whattup?” . Fry slapped high-fives with both of them, as if it was a reunion. “Heyyyyy, (snort) who’s your friend here? He’s cute!” said Vyolet.

   “Vy, Moose, this is Dave, Professor hired him a few months ago. He’s a mechanic or something.” Dave apprehensively extended his hand to the two mutants. Vyolet’s hand was cold, scaly and dry, and reeking of tobacco. Moose on the other hand, well, he had hands like big furry baseball gloves. “Nice to meet you two. Fry tells me there’s a whole city down here.”
   “So, (snort) what brings you two down here? You guys on a delivery or something?(snort)”

   Fry’s face went slack. “Uh, no, not exactly. We’re looking for Leela. You two haven’t seen her by any chance have you?”

   Vyolet lit another cigarette from the torch. “Nah, sure haven’t Fry. Is she in some kinda trouble?(snort)”

   “No no, she’s just real upset about something, and ran off before we could talk to her.” Dave interjected.

   Vyolet pointed in the direction they came from. “You might wanna (snort) ask her parents, Morris & Munda should be home.”

   Fry and Dave thanked Moose and Vyolet as they parted ways. “C’mon Moose (snort) the surface garbage n’ crap ain’t gonna find itself!(snort)” Dave could hear Moose answer a low “Duhhh, okay” as they walked off.

   About 500 feet down the tunnel, Dave and Fry made the second right turn. They went left down a larger tunnel soon after, and it opened up into a sight that took Dave’s breath away.

   They were standing across the street from what used to be 30 Rockefeller Plaza. The skyscrapers Dave remembered walking past all those years ago, had all but been reduced to mountains of concrete & reinforcing steel rubble. “C’mon, the house is this way.” Fry pointed out.

   After walking for the better part of an hour, in what used to be a thriving, 24-hour metropolis, they walked down a wooden boardwalk, over a glowing green lake, and through a gaping hole in a concrete foundation wall, they found a settlement.

   Huge torches, and trash can fires glowed eerily everywhere. The sound of dripping water echoed all around them. It was a dank and humid place, combined with the stench of the ruins. “Geez Fry, it’s gonna take a week to scrub this stink off me!”  Dave said, sounding disgusted.

   They walked on, after a few more right, and left turns, they found the boardwalk they were looking for. “This is the place” said Fry. No lights could be seen through the grime, and dust caked windows. The two-level home’s roof sagged in the middle. Dave looked at all the houses up and down both sides of the canal. All the structures looked seriously dilapidated, but he could see the mutants had done some amazing restoration work, with what little resources that were available to them.

   Fry knocked three times on the door “Just let me do the talking.” a few seconds later, the door opened. A one-eyed, balding, middle-aged man with a mouth turned 90-degrees to where it should be greeted them. “What? I didn’t order any strippers!” He said jokingly. “Hello Fry, good to see you again! Who’s your friend?” Fry shook the man’s hand, and gestured to Dave “Whattup Morris, this is Dave. He’s from the 20st century, like me.” Morris’s eye widened upon hearing that name.

   “Is it him?, I mean, it is you! You rescued my daughter! Please, come in, come in!” He said, practically pulling the two of them through the rotted & delaminated door.
   “Munda! Come in here, it’s him!” Morris exclaimed.

   Munda walked into the living room. “You wanna keep it down Morris, you’ll wake Leela up!”
She loudly whispered at him. “Ohh, hello Fry! Always nice to see you. “gasp!” is that him Morris?” she said, as she stared at Dave. “Yes dear, this is the guy who saved our little girl!” Morris said, beaming proudly.

   Dave smiled, and grasped Munda’s hand gently. “It’s very nice to meet both of you. Leela always speaks very highly of you both.”

   She ushered Dave and Fry over to the sofa “Please, have a seat you two, I’ll get coffee.” as she turned back towards the kitchen.

   Morris looked rather somber all of the sudden. “Leela’s upstairs resting. She’s very upset about something, but she’s ok.”

   “That’s why we’re here. There’s a thing that sorta involves all three of us.” Fry explained. “I haven’t seen her get that angry so fast in a long time.”

   Munda came back into the living room carrying a tray with the coffee. Dave, and Fry gratefully accepted a cup. Dave tried to hide the little wince he involuntarily made from the slightly bitter coffee. “Wooh, it’s a little hot there, thanks.”

   Dave re-told Leela’s parents about the night he had saved her from the two attackers. They were both trembling as he then explained everything that happened on the false delivery to Zuban-5. Munda would cover her mouth with one of her tentacle-arms every now and then, to stifle her numerous “oh my gawd!” outbursts.

   “Amy and Kif were the real saviors that day. If they hadn’t crashed the ship into Robot Hell, we’d have all been goners!" Dave said.

   Munda turned to Fry. “Fry, why don’t you go up and see if Leela’s feeling better. Maybe talk to her a bit. She’ll probably be glad to see you.”

   Fry’s face brightened up as he headed for the stairs. With him out of the room, Morris, and Munda could ask Dave some more serious questions.

   “Dave, Leela’s told us a lot about you. She’s given us the impression that both of you are quite fond of each other." Munda said.

   Dave responded, smiling a little, “Yeah, she’s really something special! When I was brought here from 2008, I had no idea what to expect. I had no home, no family, no friends. Everyone at Planet Express has been great, they’ve treated me like one of their own. I never knew there were people in the world who still cared like that. Leela didn’t say anything to me at first, but I think that was because she didn’t know how I’d react to her physical appearance.”

   Dave continued, “But that first day, after I awoke from the crash, I just remember lying there, and seeing her standing by the window watching the sunrise. How the light hit her, it was just perfect, I hadn’t seen any other woman that beautiful.”

   The room fell eerily quiet. Morris and Munda didn’t make a sound. “Hard to believe, it’s only been 3 months, and already both of us have been involved in life-threatening situations. If Leela hadn’t been there with me on Zuban-5 when I got shot, I don’t think I would have survived.”

   “Over the past two months, I’ve gotten to know Leela a little better. I have to say, in addition to being extremely beautiful, I love how she carries herself. I’ve watched her get focused on something, and she will fight like hell to win, no matter what! She’s so intelligent, articulate, she has a great sense of humor, and like me, she loves to fly!” Dave said, now bearing a smile that stretched nearly the width of his face!

   Morris wiped away a tear from the corner of his eye on his sweater vest sleeve. “Ohh, man, if that isn’t love, then I don’t know what is!”

   “We don’t want to sound condescending to you Dave, but you must know that Leela’s been in some really bad relationships. She‘s been hurt a lot.” Munda explained.

   “I love my little girl, and even though we’ve only known been re-united with her for a few years, it just kills us inside to see her suffer when one boyfriend after another treats her good at first, but then kicks her to the curb when they get tired of her. Her poor heart can’t take that kind of treatment over and over again.”

   Dave solemnly explained how love had nearly ruined his life as well. How his fiancée, Dao had left him for no reason, and as a result, life didn’t mean much to him after that.

   “So, please believe me, I know how much love can tear a person up inside when it goes bad. Now that you both know about my past, I want to swear to the two of you that my feelings, and my intentions towards Leela are unwavering. I would never forgive myself for hurting her. I’ve seen how caring, and warm-hearted Leela is, and that’s the woman I want to be with!"

   Their conversation was interrupted by Fry’s footsteps clomping down the staircase. A loud wooden ‘crunch’ sounded as Fry got near the bottom, followed by ‘sorry!’. Fry sat back down on the couch. “She’s feeling better, I think she’ll be okay.” He looked at Dave, “Oh, she wants to talk to you.”

   Morris and Munda whispered quietly “Go on, go on!” both smiling, as they looked at him, and then at each other happily.

   Stepping over the wooden plank Fry snapped, Dave climbed the rickety staircase. Nails protruded haphazardly out of the banister, snagging his pant leg every few steps. There were only two rooms upstairs, one with it’s door open, showed nobody home, so he faced the other, and knocked softly on the closed door. “I’m here Leela? You okay?” The door’s handle turned, and popped open. Leela was still misty-eyed a little, but smiled willingly when she saw him.

   Once inside the room, they hugged each other tightly. “Thanks for coming down here with Fry, I guess Nibbler told you everything huh?”

   “Yeah, but that’s only half the problem, from what I gathered.” Dave replied, as they let go.

   They both sat at the foot of the queen-sized bed. The mattress’s rusty springs squeaked loudly, and a fine cloud of dust rose from the duvet covering it.

   “I’m really sorry Dave. I guess my history of being dumped still bothers me a lot. I really got scared this morning when I remembered that we have a date on Friday. The revelation from Nibbler just pushed me over the edge.”

   Dave gently squeezed her hand. “That’s perfectly understandable Leela. You certainly didn’t deserve to be treated like that, no woman does! As for Nibbler, I freaked when told me that I wasn’t transported here by accident.”

   “What?” Exclaimed Leela

   “Yeah, it wasn’t Professor Farnsworth‘s, or even Bender’s fault. Nibbler admitted to modifying the transporter to find me out, and bring me here, Bender was just a scapegoat. Turns out, The Professor repaired the device several times over, Nibbler had to keep sabotaging it, so I couldn’t immediately go back to 2008.”

   Dave’s eyes dropped to the dirty floor as he paused. “If you don’t want to go out with me Friday night,,, I understand. I don’t want to do anything that could ruin our friendship Leela.”

   Leela was about to answer him, when Munda knocked on the door, jarring it open a little. “Sorry kids, I didn’t mean to interrupt. Dave, could I speak to Leela alone for a moment?” Dave looked back at Leela, he still had her hand in his. “Of course, I’ll just go see what Fry’s up to downstairs.” he said, and he let go of Leela’s soft, warm hand.

   Dave descended the rickety staircase, the nails now pulled at his left pant leg, as he stepped back over the broken plank. Fry and Morris were talking Blernsball in the living room. Morris was gripping the neck of an empty beer bottle to imitate something a legendary player, who’s name Dave never heard, did ten seasons ago.

   Back upstairs, Munda was relieved that Leela was feeling better. “Sooo, what’s on your mind dear? Talk to me.” Munda said, with her typical motherly smile.

   “I don’t know Mom, I’m still trying to make my mind up about Dave.”

   Munda rested a tentacle on her daughter’s shoulder. “Leelaaa, I know it’s hard, this is something you have look deep inside yourself for the right answer. I have some advice if you’d like.”

   “Leela, I know you’ve wanted to be with someone who’s powerful, who’s rich, who’s a status-seeker. You honestly have to look deep inside yourself, and ask yourself,,, is this really what I want, and is it really worth it?”

   “I know Mom. Those are the guys I’ve wanted to be with for as long as I can remember. They were great at first, but they were all jerks in the end!" Leela said angrily, the stress wrinkle on her forehead deepening.

   “That’s right! Do you know why they were all jerks Leela?”

   “No Mom, I don’t. I always thought it was because of my sweaty boot rash?”

   “No dear, it’s because they all have the same thing in common. They sold their souls, so to speak, to get their power, to get their wealth. They don’t care about anything but themselves. They see a gorgeous young woman, such as you, and they only see an object to show off, to make others jealous, like a piece of rare artwork, or an exotic sports hover-car. Once they see another woman who they think looks better to them, they toss you away, like the garbage they do! Shmucks!” Munda said bitterly, as she spat on the floor.

   “Tell me, how do you feel about him?”

   “Dave’s a great guy Mom! He’s mature, easy going, intelligent, mechanically inclined, and the way he hurt that guy in the alley, wow!”

   Munda interrupted, “No, no dear, I mean, what are your feelings for him like?”

   “Oh, well, It’s kinda like, well, sorta like I can be myself with him. He likes to compliment me, he tells me all the time how beautiful I look. He makes me feel really good about myself, and I think it’s wonderful that he‘s not bothered by the little things. What I don’t know is if he’s really being 100% honest with me, that, and he’ll sometimes rush into something without thinking. That‘s really all I can think of. When he asked me out, I felt like I was rushing into another bad relationship again. That’s partially the reason why I flipped out at work."

   “Okay, so he’s not perfect, but then, who is?"

   Munda continued, “Leela, you father and I spent the better part of several hours down there with Fry, and that handsome young man. Dave poured out his heart, his feelings, and devotion towards you. The last time I heard someone talk about a woman like that, it was that poetry you father wrote me all those years ago!” Munda said, blushing a little.

   Leela managed to display a tiny smile, as her Mother told her about what transpired downstairs earlier.

   “Mom, Dad wrote you dirty limericks after drinking two bottles of tequila!” Leela said, giggling.
   “That’s my point dear. You father’s far from perfect. He isn’t powerful, he’s not rich, but he’s more special to me that any other man in the universe, because he makes me happy, he makes me feel loved Leela! Every single day that we’re together is a blessing from above!”

   Leela looked up at her Mother’s face, glowing with same pride she felt for her daughter now, as she did long ago on the night she was born.

   “Believe me Leela, find the one who makes you happy, who makes you feel loved, and you’ll never regret it! No amount of power, or money in existence can beat it!”

   Leela’s eye started to tear up again, and she flopped back against the mattress, hand pressed against her forehead. “I think you have a point there Mom. I feel like such an idiot!”

   “But your not an idiot dear! We all make mistakes, it’s part of being human. You live and you learn hon! Not learning from your mistakes would make you the idiot, and I know how intelligent my daughter is!”

   “I don’t know what to say, you’re absolutely right Mom!” Leela said, as she fought back a sob.

   “It’s alright dear,” Munda said, as she hugged Leela. “I know you’ll do the right thing. You’re a Turanga, great inner strength runs in our family.”

   Munda held onto Leela’s hand as she stood up again. She had one more piece of advice to give.

   “I saw it in his eyes Leela, I believe him. Why don’t you give him a chance? Go out, have a good time, talk to him, get to know him better, you might be surprised!”

   Leela headed for the door, “Excuse me Mom, I’ve got something to say to a certain someone downstairs!” she exclaimed, smiling so big, it showed most of her teeth.

   Munda sat alone in the bedroom for a minute to think. “Well, if he does break her heart,,, I’ll personally see to it he gets fed to the crocodiles!” as she smiled contently.

   Down in the living room, Fry was doing his drunken Frenchman routine for Morris, who was on the floor laughing hysterically, so much so he didn’t notice Leela enter the room, until Dave stood up from his seat, and called her name.

   Leela stepped over her father, right over to where Dave stood, and threw her arms around his neck, embracing him even tighter than the day he was released from the Professor’s Heal-O-Matic tank.

   As the two of them stood there, holding each other as if the Earth was slated for demolition in a hour, Leela was planting kisses on his right cheek. She whispered softly in Dave’s ear.

   “I think everything’s gonna work out just fine! You better have something nice to wear Friday night mister!” She said with another small giggle.

   Dave, Leela, and Fry stayed in the company of Morris and Munda for a little while longer. Mostly because Dave was so fascinated with how the mutant society had managed to survive with little influence from the surface world.

   Leela glanced up at the clock on the wall. “Oh my! It’s after 10pm! We’ll have to use the hidden passage below Little Neptune to get back to the surface. It’s a little out of the way, but it’s the only safe way back up without getting caught.!”

   They said their good-byes to Morris and Munda, and headed for the front door. “Oooh, Leela, wait a minute!” Munda called out. Dave and Fry waited just outside the door.   

   “Leela, I have something I think you’ll find very useful on Friday night.” Munda said, as she removed a dusty garment bag from a hanger in the closet.

   Leela took the bag from her Mother. Unzipping it, she gasped loudly upon seeing what was inside. The garment bag held a beautiful burgundy-colored satin evening gown. Leela held it up, she recognized it’s low-cut front, strapless back, and small circular cutout at the navel. The matching formal gloves confirmed what Leela knew. She remembered this dress. It was the one she wore the night Fry performed the opera he had written for her. She hadn’t found the courage to wear it since then.

   “Mom,,, I’m speechless, I completely forgot I still had it. Thanks for holding on to it for me. I think I’m ready to give it a second chance. After all, it’s one of my favorites!”

   “You’re very welcome sweetie! You two have fun. Oh, and if things go well, how about you two come down Sunday morning for coffee?” Leela hugged, and kissed Munda, “That sounds great Mom! We’ll talk it over, I’ll be in touch.“, then she headed out to re-join Dave and Fry.


   It was nearly a 7 mile detour to the part of the sewers that connected to Little Neptune. They jumped from several piles of decomposed building material. Dave suddenly stopped, staring off into the distance.

   “What is it Dave? You see something?” Leela asked

   “Nah, thought I saw something I remembered from the 20th. Let’s get outta here.”

   Little Neptune was built over what used to be lower Manhattan. Ruined, and collapsed buildings choked the streets. Dave pointed his flashlight at different angles to try and find a street sign. Dave saw they were heading south on Hudson St. They were walking towards the financial district, when a crumpled glass and steel tower came into view.

   “Wait a sec, I know that building. It’s Freedom Tower! So they did finish building it!”

   “Freedom Tower? Never heard of it Dave, what is it?” asked Fry.
   Dave suddenly remembered, Fry got frozen at the turn of the century. Over a year and a half before the terrible events of September 11th, 2001.

   “You were frozen when it happened Phil.” Dave said, as they drew closer to the collapsed tower. “Freedom Tower was built after one of the worst days in American history that I will never forget.” They stopped walking. Leela pointed her flashlight at a dull metal plaque mounted on a block of crumbling granite. The centuries had corroded, and worn away anything legible on it. She shone the light from side to side. They all noticed two huge, square depressions in the ground. Both now eroded, and filled with sewer water, like roofless bunkers.

   “Guys,,, this is the World Trade Center Memorial!” Dave began to re-tell the horrific events of that tragic day. Events he saw happen live on his TV that morning.

   “That’s so sad Dave, but people haven’t lived, or worked down here in almost 500 years. You might be the only one left who remembers what this place stood for.” Leela lamented.

   They paused in front of the memorial for a few more minutes, as Dave silently prayed. One of his best childhood friends was an NYFD fire-fighter, who died trying to get people out of Tower 2 when it collapsed. “God bless ya Mikey! Wherever you are!”

   The trio walked east towards the secret entrance up to New New York. They headed down what appeared to be Chambers St, towards what used to be Chinatown.

   Dave broke the silence again as they crossed Broadway, and onto Fulton. “Hey guys, what’s an aircraft carrier doing in midtown?”

   A huge black wall of steel, well over 1,000ft long, lay in front of them. The great ship leaned over on it’s port side. It’s flight deck collapsed in the middle, and numerous jagged holes punctuated it’s hull. The ship’s huge island structure tilted dangerously close to the edge of the flight deck, as if it was ready to collapse to the ground.

   Through the centuries of corrosion, and grime, a name plate welded across the front of the bow bore rusty, orange-colored raised lettering.



   Leela was tapping information into the computer on her wrist. “According to my wrist-thingy, it says the USS Enterprise was displayed as the centerpiece of a huge military memorial park in 2211, built by President George X. Bush IV.”

   On the ground beside the great warship, a huge concrete pad displayed what appeared to be the severely corroded remains of a dozen or more aircraft. One aircraft at the back of the group didn’t appear to be in same dreadful condition as the rest.

   Dave instantly recognized the aircraft from it’s sleek side profile. It’s twin vertical stabilizers, and variable-geometry wings immediately gave it away. “Good lord! It’s a Tomcat!” Dave exclaimed.

   Dave shined his flashlight all over the fuselage. The F-14 was covered in a thick, black stone-like substance.

   Leela flipped out a small scanning device from her wrist computer, and ran it over a small part of the black material.

   “Hmmmm, it says this stuff’s been fired from an XKF Industries M454 Carbonite Rifle. Something, or someone must have been using the aircraft as target practice.”

   “XKF Industries? Never heard of them.” Dave said

   “They’re the biggest defense contractor in the Western Hemisphere. They’re also the primary supplier for DOOP, and several other planetary armed forces.” Leela explained.

   Leela explained further. “Carbonite is an excellent preservative. The whole aircraft’s covered in it. “

   “Hey, c’mon you two, let’s get back already!” Fry yelled.

   They finally located the access ladder to the hidden sewer grate in Little Neptune. A small crowd of mutants was milling around, each waiting their turn to climb up to New New York.

   “Youse guys has to waits yer turn!” A fat, slovenly mutant growled, as they walked up to the ladder.

   Leela instantly reached out, landing a solid judo-chop to the mutant’s neck, then a powerful side-kick to his bulbous gut. “Sorry, I must have slipped on this wet pavement!” she said smugly.

   “She’s so great!” Fry whispered to Dave.

   “Yeah, It’s good to see her up & kicking butt again!” Dave replied with a laugh.

   The three exited the sewers in a dark alley behind a small bodega. It was nearly midnight, and there were few pedestrians out, as they walked back towards Robot Arms. Dave was still thinking about seeing that F-14 down in the sewers. It sounded like something only a madman would dream of, “maybe The Professor & me could do something with it. Make it fly again!” Dave laughed as he shook the ridiculous thought out of his mind. He hadn’t flown an aircraft since 1998. That was a little Cessna 182, this was an enormously-complex, multi-million dollar, Mach 2+ turbine-powered beast.

   The trio turned the corner onto Leela’s street. They paused outside of her building, Dave and Fry said their goodnights, and headed for The Robot Arms.

   Fry opened the door to the apartment. Broken malt liquor bottles, and oil stains littered the floor.
   “Wow! Looks like Bender had a good time.” said Fry.

   A loud burp, and flash of orange light came from the adjacent room. Bender was passed out sleeping in the corner of Fry’s bedroom. Two StripperBot 5.0s were dozing beside him. They nuzzled him, as he shifted a little.

   Dave laid down on the couch. The apartment was nice, and Fry’s hospitality was exceptional, but Dave had been thinking. If he were to stay, and start over again in the 31st century, he’d very much like to have his own place. Things between him & Leela could get more serious, moving in with her sounded good, as that would at least be quieter, and he wouldn’t have to sleep on a couch.

   He though about what Nibbler had said to him the previous day. If he truly was some sort of “chosen one” brought here to vanquish evil, what would become of him? Fry and Leela were also part of this prophecy, so at least he’d have help with this fight. Nibbler’s revelation bothered him as much as it had bothered Leela. “Well, at least she won’t have to go it alone. I’ll be here for her, no matter what! We’ll get through this together!” Dave thought, as he drifted off to sleep.

   Dave had another wonderful dream that night. He dreamt that the F-14 they found in the sewer was fully restored, and he & Leela were seated inside it, screaming through the stratosphere, banking hard around cloud formations, while the epic guitar instrumental “Flying In A Blue Dream” played over the aircraft’s custom sound interface!
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #21 on: 12-21-2008 01:24 »
« Last Edit on: 12-21-2008 01:28 »

Just a reminder: I have completed this story up to chapter 15, I stopped posting it here for a while, but have resumed, and will post the story up until I get ready to debut each chapter first on TLZ/FM.

Part 1 of Chap. 11

               Written by: La Belle Leela

Chapter. 11

(Planet Express Headquarters, Thursday 09/08/3008 - 1016 hours)

   The front doors of the office automatically slid open, Fry & Bender strolled in, over an hour late, as usual. The unusual thing was that nobody was around. Hermes, and The Professor were normally there insulting, and berating the two of them by now, but they were nowhere to be found.

   From out of the hangar came the shrill, high-speed sound of a pick-sweep arpeggio solo from an instrument Fry immediately knew. Bender’s head perked up “What in the Robot Hell is that? Sounds like some poor robot getting eaten by Zoidberg!”

   “That’s not funny robut! Why I’d savagely attack you out of anger, but I don’t have the strength, what from not having eaten in one of your Earth months!” Zoidberg groaned from his office.

   “Shut up Bender! That’s an electric guitar! And whoever’s playing it is incredible!” Fry said, as he jabbed him in his side with a loud ‘thunk!’

   Fry & Bender walked into the hangar to see Dave perched up on the lowered tailgate of his hover-truck. His fingers were racing up and down the vine-inlaid fret board of a beautiful white & gold Ibanez JEM7V, playing the solo from Dream Theater‘s “As I Am”, with the energy & ferocity of someone who’d been on an all-day Slurm binge.

   “WOOOOOOH! PLAY SOME RUSH MAN!” Fry yelled excitedly from across the hangar floor. Dave stood up upon hearing Fry’s yell. He fiddled with one of the tone knobs, then broke into the driving instrumental “YYZ”. 

   When he finished, Fry walked over to get a look at the guitar. “Man! That was awesome! You been playing long?”

   “A few years, I taught myself to play, since I can’t read sheet music to save my life!” Dave said, as he chuckled. “A therapist told me it would help channel some of the anger, and stress I was dealing with after my Dad died.”

   Fry uttered an“uhh huh” nonchalantly. Dave saw he was still fixed on the guitar.

   “Pretty cool ain’t it Fry. When I went down to the Technology Museum the other day, they were impressed with my laptop computer. The director said he’d never even seen one from as far back as the 21st century, and was even more shocked when I showed him it still worked."

   “So I take it you sold them your computer?” Fry asked

   “Yeah. He offered me $150,000.” Dave calmly admitted.

   Fry spit a mouthful of Slurm. “THEY WHAAA?”

   “But I didn’t take it. I saw this old Ibanez over in the corner of the director’s office. I made him a counter-offer. $100,000 plus the guitar, he couldn’t have been happier.”

   Dave handed it over to Fry, so he could inspect it.

   “What’s up for you guys today? Deliveries as usual?”

   “Nahhh, ship’s down for more repairs. Leela & Amy are going over another upgrade package The Professor just bought.” Fry explained.

   “Oh good. I don’t want Leela to know what I’m up to. I’ve gotta head over that Giorgio Armonster place you recommended to pick up my suit, and a few other errands. I want Friday night to really be special!”

   “You know she’s lucky to have met you. It’s great to see Leela so happy when you’re together.” Fry commented, as Dave locked up the truck’s tailgate.

   “Thanks Fry, I’m glad to be with her too. Actually, to be here with all of you guys. Wish there was more people like you in this city Phil, See ya later!” said Dave, as he hopped in the big Dodge’s seat and fired the engine up.

   The Planet Express building grew smaller in the rearview mirror, as Dave drove towards the shopping complex in New Midtown.

(New Midtown Manhattan NNY, Thursday 09/08/3008 - 1135 hours)

   A chime sounded as Dave walked into the storefront. A large, shaggy, mottled green creature greeted him with a low roar as he approached the register, and gave his name.

   “Ahhhh yes of course, Mister Murphy! Your suit is ready. If you’d like to make sure it conforms to your specifications, our fitting rooms are in the back.” the clerk bellowed.

   Dave thanked the clerk, picked up his garment bag, and headed into the back of the shop. 31st century clothing wasn’t really much different than 21st century clothing. Except for the fin-shaped apparatus that was sticking up on each shoulder of the jacket, the suit looked like any other he’d worn before. What made this one special was the fact he’d had it custom made, his others had all been off the rack, and just never quite looked, or fit right. He wanted to look as good as possible for his date with Leela tomorrow night, and that more than justified the $1,800 price tag.

   The suit fit like a dream. Autumn was around the corner, and it was after Labor Day, so he went with a dark, almost charcoal gray matching 3-button jacket and slacks. A silvery-pewter colored silk dress shirt, and tie, darker with similar design accents completed the ensemble.

“Awesome,,,,,, awesome to the max! SOLD!” Dave thought, as he admired the suit on himself in the mirror, a big smile of confidence on his face!

(Planet Express Headquarters, Thursday 09/08/3008 - 1415 hours)

   “Dark matter reactor online, temps are right where they should be Leela.” Amy said, as the ship powered up, and began it’s ascent into the early afternoon sky.

   “So Leela, you look exceptionally cheerful today, thinking about tomorrow night? OOOH, what are you gonna wear?” Amy blurted out excitedly, as the North American continent slid past the flight deck windows on their southerly course into outer space.

   Leela didn’t answer right away. She was looking out of the port-side windshield, watching the Florida peninsula roll by. Large explosions flashing on the ground had caught her attention. “Uhhh lord, they’re carpet-bombing the Disney World compound again! Everyone forgets, those giant mouse Killbots always change their attack tactics!” She said to herself in thought.

   “Huh, wha? Oh, sorry Amy, got distracted a bit.” Leela answered vacantly.

   Amy repeated her query.

   “Yeahhh, I’m really looking forward to it. My mom saved that really cute evening gown for me. You know, the one I wore to Fry’s opera?”

   “Oh” Amy said, “I kinda figured you were gonna wear that slutty looking Easter dress I keep hearing so much about.”

   “Oh stop it! I’m trying to maintain my sophisticated image here! Besides, the opera dress makes a much better first impression, and brings out my, as Dave puts it so elegantly, my “Natural Beauty” Leela dreamily exclaimed.

   “Sorry Amy. I guess I am a little nervous. Both of us haven’t really dated in nearly five years. I’m sure Dave’s just as worked up inside as I am.”

   “It’s cool Leela, I understand. So, where are you two going?”

   “He got us a table at Elzar’s. Dave also said he had a surprise afterwards. I guess that’s what’s got me nervous. I hope he isn’t going to attempt anything like Fry used to do.”

   A few moments of silence passed before Leela explained another reason why she was in an incredibly good mood.

   “It was really sweet what he admitted to me last night on the walk home Amy. He said he noticed I didn’t wear a lot of makeup. Dave said he found natural beauty like mine incredibly attractive."

   Amy squealed with laughter. “Awww, that’s uber-sweet Leela! Kif always says stuff n’ junk like that to me!”

   Leela didn’t reply right away. She turned around in her captain’s chair and smiled at Amy. “Speaking of Kif, you two sound like things are getting serious. You think he might ask you to, uh, you know,,,”

   “Be his Fon-Fon-Ru? Oh, spleesh!. Our long distance relationship is hard enough as it is. I can’t imagine what it would be like if we were married. He’s always out on patrol so long. It’d be great if he got re-assigned to DOOP headquarters, then we could get a place of our own in the city!”

   Leela sighed sympathetically. “It’ll be okay Amy, Kif loves you very much. I’m sure he’ll come around when the time is right. Don’t give up on him.”

   “Thanks Leela. I guess this is why I think of you as sister, more than a friend!” Amy replied.

   The ship decelerated, and nosed over into 180 degree turn. “Well, everything checks out okay. Life support systems normal, Dark Matter reactor stable, coffee dispenser output at maximum strength. Let’s go home!”

   Earth’s upper atmosphere buffeted the Planet Express Ship, as Leela decelerated it to approach speed.

   “I just need to make one little stop on our way home Amy.” Leela said, as she banked the ship towards Manhattan Island, now just a distant speck on the nose of the ship.

   The ship’s anti-theft alarm chirped, as Leela depressed the small button on her key fob. She and Amy rode the escalator down to street level. The street was upscale-looking. Shade trees dotted both sides, and people were milling about the number of small boutiques, bistros, and coffee houses. 

   “I ordered a little something for Dave. I hope he likes it.” Leela explained, as she walked into a small electronics store. Amy stayed outside, fidgeting with her cell phone.

   When Leela returned, carrying a small bag, Amy’s eyes were wide with excitement, as she pulled at Leela’s arm to show her something.

   “Leela! Look! Fry’s over there with someone!” Amy loudly whispered, as she pointed to a coffee shop across the street.

   Almost instinctively, they both ducked behind a Suicide Booth to watch Fry. Leela noticed the woman Fry was with looked vaguely familiar. “Amy, that looks like that DOOP officer who interviewed us on Monday.” Leela whispered.

   “Oh wow! You’re right!" Amy exclaimed, as she studied the dark brown hair, and almond eyes of Lt. Sims.

   Fry and Lt. Sims were sitting down at one of the sidewalk tables. A waiter took their order, and hurried off. They seemed to be engrossed in conversation about something important. Suddenly, Fry stood up, and held his hands out like he was firing a plasma rifle. Lt. Sims rocked back in her chair laughing.

   “C’mon Leela, let’s leave em’ be. They seem to be having a fun time.” Amy suggested, as she tugged at Leela’s right arm. “Hmmm, she’s probably trying to pump him for more info for the court-martial.” Leela thought.

   “Yeah, guess your right. Let’s go this way so we’re not seen. We can always confront Fry about this later.” said Leela, as they hurried off towards the parking garage.

   Static crackled from Leela’s wrist computer. “Dis’ is Hermes. A package just got thrown carelessly through da slot, an ’dey paid us for ‘Priority Overnight‘, so you gotta get back ‘ere right now jah!”

   “Oh lord, what now?” Leela thought, as she answered Hermes. “Roger that, we’ll be back in a minute.” as she signed off with a mock salute.

   Hermes, and The Professor were waiting as the ship touched down inside the hangar. A plain, wooden 4ft tall box sat in front of where they stood.

   “What’s the mission guys?” Leela said, as she stopped at the bottom of the ship’s main staircase. She didn’t bother closing the hangar doors, since they were likely departing in a few minutes. “Wait, Fry’s not here! Who’s gonna deliver this?” Amy exclaimed.


   “You’ll have to take his place Amy. You up for the job?” asked Leela. “Aye-aye Captain! Uh, I mean one eye! Uh, Yes Sir!, uhh, Ma’am!” Amy’s nervous reply was cut off by the sound of the roll-away door at the back of the hangar sliding open. The bright hangar lights reflected off the polished chrome & deep blue paint of Dave’s hover-truck as it glided to a stop behind the Planet Express Ship.

   Amy began whispering in Leela’s ear. “What? No! that’s crazy, he doesn’t even have a proper career chip!” Leela half-whispered back.

   Professor Farnsworth cranked his hearing aid from “Most Deafer” down to “Mild Deafiness”
“Eughwhaa?, Oh! Capital idea Leela! He can take Fry’s place!”

   “WHAT?” replied Leela, Amy, and Dave, all in unison.

   “Eugh-yes! It seems I have another spare career chip lying around from a previous crewmember! Ohhh, Rusty, that poor son of a bi-uhhh, that’s not important. Anyway, he was my Pilot and Chief Mechanic when I first started Planet Express. Uh, now Leela, if you’d do the honors.” Farnsworth said, as he handed the small black silicone semi-conductor over.

   “Whoa-whoa-whoa, do what honors? Leela, what’s he talking about?” Dave said, alarmed.

   “Well, it looks like The Professor just hired you Dave! Now hold out your left hand, this may sting a bit.” Leela said, as she loaded the chip into her implant gun, a holdover from her days as the Fate Assignment Officer at the cryogenics lab.

   Dave nervously held out his left hand, palm up, as Leela squeezed the trigger. “OW! Drafted sounds more accurate!” he said, cursing under his breath, as he massaged the red, swollen spot on his palm.

   “There we are! That chip should hold up, eugh-just in case the authorities have to intervene! Now, you youngsters have a package to deliver!"

   “Well, at least now I feel like I can be useful around here!” Dave said, as he scooped up the box. “Wait, I’ll lower the cargo door, so you won’t have to lug it up the boarding stairs.” Leela shouted. Dave hoisted the box onto his shoulder. “That’s okay, it’s not really heavy.” he said, already halfway up the ship’s stairway.

   “Wow, Fry never carries stuff like that.” Amy noted. “Yeah, well, Fry does his best Amy-oooh! Look at those lats!” Leela replied lazily, losing her train of thought in mid-sentence, as she stared at the box balancing on Dave’s broad shoulders.

   Amy turned a little red “Yeah, his butt wasn’t bad either!” she said with a nervous, but contented look on her face. “Amy! You didn’t!” Leela hissed back. “Ohhh no! It‘s not like that! I accidentally walked into the locker room as he was getting out of the shower. Sorry.” They both looked at each other for a second, then both Leela and Amy just started laughing like schoolgirls! 

(Planet Express Ship, 09/08/3008 - 1735 hours NNY Time)

   With their cargo secured, and their mission information loaded into the ship’s Flight Management System, The Planet Express ship sped away from Earth. They were headed for the small planet of Erebus IV, lying just outside of the Crab Nebula.


   Dave studied the cargo manifest as he relaxed in his seat. “Hmmm, IASRA. Who, or what is that?” he mused. Leela typed on her computer console. A monitor above his head displayed the IASRA internet site.
   IASRA stood for “Intergalactic Air & Space Racing Association” The introduction video gave a brief rundown of it’s history, current season points leader, and most popular driver/pilots.

   “It’s the 31st century equivalent to that NASCAR thing you were explaining to us about.” Leela said, as she pointed to his black & silver #29 GM Goodwrench fire suit jacket he was wearing.

   Their cargo was the IASRA championship trophy, to be presented at the conclusion of this weekend’s final race to the points winner of the 3008 season.

   Highlights of the 3008 IASRA season played over the monitor. The multi-colored vessels that raced flew at speeds ten-times faster than the NASCAR stock cars of the 20th century. They also wrecked with much more deadly results, in spite of the driver/pilot safety devices.

   The points leader for the 3008 season, and likely champion was a tall, platinum-blond haired man, with a handlebar mustache named Blast Andersen. Blast hailed from, like many other pilots, the planet Antebellum-12, and piloted a race vessel with an eye-blistering, day-glo shade of green, and the unmistakable logo of ‘Slurm‘, his sponsor.

   A reporter was interviewing Blast after his victory the previous week on Omicron-Persei 8. Blast answered him in a thick, southern drawl, typical of the area Dave grew up in back on 20th century Earth.

   Leela turned the volume up to hear Blast’s response about the harrowing, 1,200 mile race. “Well Darrell, after they bumped, I saw Gourden lose his stabilator, spin out of control, hit the ground, then the Omicronians eating his remains, I just knew I had to force this #33 Slurm machine to the finish, just a little bit harder than the other guys, and thankfully, the boys back at the shop gave me a good ship this week!”

   The camera-bot pulled back to reveal the reporter was none other than the head of Darrell Waltrip! Dave got really excited, so excited he jumped out of his seat, and pointed at the screen. “OHH, MAN! Good ol’ D.W.!!! I never thought I’d see him again!" He exclaimed.

   “Well race fans, I think we can rest easy knowing that Blast’s gonna be our 3008 IASRA champion. Now let’s hand it over to our friend Kenny Wallace in the pits. Kenny?” Darrell said, as the camera-bot faded out, and another flared to life.

   “Thank ya Darrell! WOOOOOOH! Things are pretty intense here on the hover-pit island! 43 crews are scrambling simultaneously to prepare for this evening’s practice, and tomorrow’s qualifying!” Yelled the well-preserved head of the other legendary 20th century NASCAR driver/commentator. Two IASRA officials placed Kenny Wallace’s head jar onto a special robotic chassis, much like Bender, but without the head.

   “You remember him as well Dave?” Amy asked.

   “Yeah. Kenny used to race back in the 20th too. He and his brothers, Mike, and Rusty drove NASCAR as well. Kenny did better in the 2nd tier racing series, which used to be called The NASCAR Busch Series.” Dave explained.

   Back on the TV, the robotic skeleton, with Kenny Wallace’s head mounted atop it’s shoulders, walked fast between the pit stalls on a gigantic floating monolith. The ‘hover-pits’ as they were called, were similar to the old pit-road Dave remembered.

   Switching the autopilot on, Leela announced she was going to be resting back in her quarters for a few hours. “If it’s anything short of the end of time, please don’t wake me guys.” she muttered, as she left the flight deck.

(Planet Express Ship, Leela’s Quarters, 09/08/3008 - 1910 NNY time)

   The darkness penetrated everywhere. She held her arms out, hoping to brush against something to get her bearings as to where she was. Strange noises, like wind, or water rushing overhead echoed on all sides. “Where am I? What is this place?” she thought, as her mind raced.

   Suddenly, huge orange, fiery explosions rocked the darkness, forcing her to shield her face with her brawny forearms. Through the heat and flame, a shadowy apparition materialized near the chasm that was slowly tearing open, as it belched enormous flames upward.

   “WHO ARE YOU? WHERE AM I?” she screamed out at the strange figure, who was dressed in long, heavy black robes. Smoke or steam vaporized off the robes, as the stranger’s arm extended, pointed a skeletal finger, beckoning her to walk closer. “The fire will not burn you my child!” The ghostly figure’s voice rattled.

   Explosions thundered around her. White hot chunks of volcanic rock, and ash fell all around her, as she walked nervously closer. She drew within a few feet of the hooded apparition. “THAT’S CLOSE ENOUGH!” the figure bellowed demonically.

   “KNEEL!” She followed the command almost instantly, but always defiant in the face of what frightened her, she yelled back, “JUST WHO THE HELL ARE YOU?” The skeletal forearms shook back the sleeves of it’s robe, as the figure’s eyes glowed like red, dying embers. She stared in fright, mouth slackened, as the evil-looking figure pulled it’s hood back, revealing a skull that burned with a reddish-orange glow. “WHO AM I?,,, YOU WILL FIND OUT MUCH SOONER THAN YOU THINK!” It answered, in the meanest, lowest guttural roar she’d ever heard.

   A bright, white glow began to emanate from small cracks spider-webbing across the evil figure’s skull. At once, she was blinded by the light, as the apparition spoke again. “DEATH AWAITS ALL THOSE WHO CHALLENGE MY POWER! THOSE WHO RESIST WILL DO SO IN VAIN!!!” She noticed the figure’s right hand was resting atop the head of another shadowy person kneeling beside it. She recoiled in horror, as she recognized the face of this person was someone she loved dearly. “HIS FATE,,, IS SEALED!”

   No sooner than the figure’s warning come from it’s mouth, it was surrounded by flame and smoke. It’s eyes turned bright red, as it levitated above the scorched ground, and began to scream louder than any scream she’d ever heard.

   “DIIIIE!” It screamed, as it flew directly towards her. She held her ground, but overcome by fear, she knelt back down on one knee. She trembled as she felt the heat grow hotter, and the scream get louder. It was too much, her mouth was open, but she never heard herself screaming. She waited for the darkness to return, for death to come. She curled up into a defensive position, trying to make herself as small as possible, as everything began to shake around her.


   Fists were pounding on the door, as Leela shot upright in her bed. She flipped the bedside lamp on. She was drenched in sweat, confused, breathing fast, and shallow. Her heart was racing, as she yelled out for whoever was beating on the door to knock it the hell off, as she slapped the button that illuminated her cabin, and slid the door open.

   “Better wait here, let me see what kinda shape she’s in.” Amy said to Dave with her hand extended, as she entered Leela’s quarters.
   Leela watched as Amy rushed to her side. “We heard you screaming. What happened?”.

   “Nothing!, a bad dream, that’s all Amy.” Leela answered, her voice quivering, as she wiped the sweat from her face with the front of her tank-top.

   “Is she okay Amy?” a voice echoed from out in the corridor.

   “Just a bad dream Dave, I’m alright. Just gimme a sec, and I’ll be back on the flight deck.” Leela answered.

   “I’m fine Amy, really. How close are we to Erebus IV?” Leela asked, as she splashed water on her face in the small vanity in her quarters.

   “Less than an hour. Here, take this.” Amy said, as she tossed Leela a fresh tank-top. Leela quickly tossed the sweat-soaked shirt over her shoulder in Amy’s direction, accidentally hitting her in the face with it. “Spluuuechh! Puke-a-tronic!“ as she muttered something foul in Cantonese. “Oops! Heh heh! Sorry Amy, didn’t know you were in the line of fire!” Leela said apologetically.

   Back on the flight deck, Leela scanned all the monitors for status updates.  Outside, a vast convoy of hover-RVs, hover-sports cars, and other assorted vessels, lined up for their approaches to Erebus IV for the weekend race.  The obligatory rebel flags embroidered with “THE MOON’S GONNA RISE AGAIN!” were displayed on just about every other wessel!

   Race vendors lined the approach paths, selling their wares. One vendor advertised for the latest popular item, the Geoff Gourden memorial #624 racing vessel cartoon with angel halo window decal. Most of the other vendors sold merchandise for the #33 Slurm racer of Blast Andersen, and a few other lesser known racers.

   Leela acknowledged the landing instructions, and began her descent to the race complex, near the capital city.

(Planet Erebus IV, 09/08/3008 - 1958 NNY time)

   IASRA was conducting the traditional night-time practice for the weekend’s final race, The Fishy Joe’s 5000.

   Dave, Leela, and Amy walked from the landing pad, to the main IASRA pavilion. Dave took Leela’s advice about looking professional, and pushed the crated trophy on the hover-dolly. He had a sneaky suspicion that maybe she preferred he use the hover-dolly, so that another display of upper-body strength like before wouldn’t attract any competition. He quietly huffed a small giggle, “Heh, yeah right, like there’s any other woman out there that can top Leela! No freakin’ way!”

   With the Race Director’s signature on the Planet Express paperwork, Leela acknowledged him with a quick salute, and they were off!

   Back outside, a horde of screaming girls ran towards the Starting Pits. The platinum-haired Blast Andersen was seen getting out of the cockpit of his blue & green #33 Slurm racer.

   “Uhhgh, lord! This place is nuts! Let’s go already guys!” Leela said, as Dave and Amy were lagging behind a little bit, to watch the other race vessels return to pit row.

   Static crackled on Leela’s wrist computer. “What the hell Leela? Why’d you guys go on the delivery without me?” Fry’s anxious voice said, screaming from the tiny speaker, nearly blowing it out.

   “Fry, stop yelling! You almost blew the speaker out, again!” Leela shot back angrily.

   “Uhhh, sorry. Hey, why’d you guys run a delivery without me?” said Fry.

   “Sorry Fry, you weren’t at the office. Nobody knew where you were, and this was a priority delivery! They actually paid extra this time!”

   “*sigh!* I know, it’s my fault Leela. I went out with someone. It was short notice, and I’ll explain when you get back.” Fry said, apologetically.

   “That’s cool. Maybe you should seriously consider buying a wrist communicator Fry, then this won’t happen.” Leela suggested.

   A booming announcer’s voice echoed across the complex, as the Planet Express employees made their way across the cracked tarmac to the waiting delivery ship. “ANNNND IT’S OFFICIAL. THE FINAL 3008 EXTREME WALRUS JUICE POLE AWARD GOES TO BLAST ANDERSEN! WITH THE QUICKEST LAP TIME OF 77.88! BACK TO YOU DARRELL!!!”, as the complex erupted in a thunderous explosion of cheering, and screaming!

   Dave laughed out loud. “Man! Even after 1,000 years, ol’ Kenny Wallace still gets the crowds going crazy!”
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #22 on: 12-21-2008 01:53 »

Part 2 of Chap. 11

(New New York, 09/09/3008 - 0030 NNY time)

   Leela skillfully guided the ship down through a high layer of cirrus clouds.  The night sky looked spectacular. The moonlight shined a silvery glow though the clouds, as the lights of New New York twinkled below.

   Dave and Amy lounged in their seats near the center windshield. Amy dozed silently, curled up slightly, as her extremities shivered. Dave noticed this, and reached into an overhead storage bin for a blanket. Leela smiled sweetly as she watched him gently drape it over Amy, being careful not to wake her.

   The ship began it’s lazy vertical descent. The surrounding buildings and power lines loomed up into view out of the side windows of the cabin. Dave had to squint his eyes a bit, until they adjusted to the bright lights of the hangar bay, now flooding the ship’s cabin, as Leela planted the ship firmly on the concrete floor.

   The threesome exited the ship, Amy still rubbing the sleep from her eyes, and both Dave & Leela looking a little bleary themselves.
   Fry was nowhere to be found. A note left on the conference table indicated he’d waited around a few hours, then left to meet up with a friend who called.

   After securing the ship, and locking the office up, Leela and Amy exited the Planet Express building through the sliding double doors, Leela tapped the code into the entry panel, locking the doors behind them.

   A muffled whining noise came up the street. Leela & Amy turned back around to see Dave had pulled his hover-truck over to the curb, then exiting and re-joining them on the sidewalk.

   “Can I offer you ladies a ride home?”

   Amy said she’d take a tube, but Leela accepted. Dave bid goodnight to Amy, and opened the passenger side door for Leela. She was by no means scared to walk home alone. This neighborhood in New New York wasn’t a nice place to be after dark, but her Arcturan Kung-Fu skills were exceptional, and she was more than capable of defending herself against multiple attackers.

   Still, Leela let him drive her home out of wanting to be close to him. They both enjoyed each other’s company more and more as the days went by. The two of them sat in comfortable silence for the first few blocks. Dave reached over and softly grasped her hand, caressing it lightly. “You okay?” he asked softly.

   “Yeah” she replied with a smile, glancing over at him briefly. He loved how the glow from the streetlights illuminated in her eye, as he reached down to a small compartment in the dash panel, below the stereo. Dave plugged his iPod into the stereo’s interface port, flipped his thumb around the clickwheel a few times, and found the song he was looking for.

   “I have to admit, every time I hear this, I think about you Leela!”

   “Awww, it’s beautiful Dave! I haven’t heard this before, who is it?” she said, still grasping his hand.

   “State of Grace”, by Jordan Rudess, and John Petrucci. They’re from that 20th century band Dream Theater I was telling you about the other day.”

   Dave continued “It’s a little reminder to me, that you’re always graceful, always beautiful Leela!”

   She leaned over and kissed his cheek “Aww, that’s sweet, thanks!”

   Dave pulled the truck over to the curb in front of Leela’s apartment building. They sat in the idling truck for a minute.

   “Will 7pm be a good time to pick you up tomorrow night?” Dave asked.

   “Sounds good. I can’t wait! See you then.” as she exited the hover-truck.

   Dave waited until she entered the building, like he always did. Looking up, he saw the lights in Apartment 1I come on. He turned his head, shifted the truck into drive, but then looked back. He saw Leela standing in her window of the 9th floor. She saw that he was looking up, smiled, and waved. Dave immediately grinned, and waved back. “Goodnight Leela, I love you!” he said, in thought.

(Robot Arms Apartments, 09/09/3008 - 1745 NNY time)

   “Fryyyy, someone’s at the door, and I just got outta the shower!" Dave said, as he heard the loud knocking.

   Dave never felt better. He was getting his life back on track. All of his past misfortunes seemed to be washed away in the last few months, since he came to the 31st century. Fry & Bender were good friends, and career-wise, he was glad to be there off the record as an interim mechanic, and officially as a back-up parcel delivery technician by Professor Farnsworth. He’d slipped Hermes a few bucks to change the title a bit, since he didn’t fancy being called “delivery boy”.

   “K, it’s almost 6:30, I gotta run guys.” Dave said, as he pressed a tiny button on each shoe’s tongue, making his gleaming new dress shoes automatically lace, and tie themselves up. He exited the back bedroom, and saw Fry sitting on the couch talking to a tall, beautiful woman.

   “Dave, you remember Lt. Sims? She came by Planet Express last week?” Fry said, as she looked up at Dave, now dressed sharply for his date with Leela. “Wow! You look great! Where are you heading?” asked Lt. Sims. “Thanks Lieutenant. I’ve got a date with Leela this evening."

   “Ohhh, please, I’m not on-duty, call me Jeannie.” she said, as she laughed a bit. “Fry and I are gonna stay in tonight, watch the ‘All My Circuits’ marathon.” she said, as she ripped open a packet of “Insta-Wine“.

   “That‘s cool. Well, Fry, Jeannie, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get going. We have reservations at Elzar’s at nineteen-uh, I mean 7:30. See ya!” he said nervously, as he walked out of the apartment, carrying his guitar case. Jeannie watched as Dave closed the door behind him. A faint line of white light appeared, slowly spider-webbing around the side of her left temple, as she kept her steely gaze on the door he had just exited.

   Dave stuffed the Ibanez’s case behind the seats, and fired up his recently washed and polished deep blue Dodge hover-truck. He rolled the iPod’s click wheel, until it played what he was in the mood for. Dave was a huge fan of instrumental guitar players. He’d never done well taking lessons, plus he couldn’t read music to save his life. He was a self-taught guitar player, much like a few of the masters he’d idolized as a teenager.

   The Dodge’s stereo played out  John Petrucci’s ’Wishful Thinking’ as he headed down the main avenue towards Leela’s place. Dave loved getting the confused stares from both humans, and aliens on the sidewalks. His iPod was full of some of the best music from the 20th, and 21st century, and nobody in this city really understood the strange, ancient music from ‘The Stupid Ages‘ as they called it.

   Dave could hardly contain his excitement. He had to keep reminding himself to slow down, after nearly blowing through 3 red lights!

   Several blocks away, Leela stood in front of her floor-length mirror, putting the finishing touches on her ensemble. The doorway access control panel near her front door beeped twice, the video/speaker unit crackled with city traffic in the background. “What th- how the hell, do I push this?” she heard the confused voice, and knew it was him.

   Down at street level, Dave was still trying to figure out the video address panel at the main entrance to the building. The tiny 4-inch screen flickered on, with Leela’s face coming into focus. “Heyyyy! You’re a little early aren’t you?” She said with a huge smile. “I’ll buzz you in, it’s apartment 1I.”

   Dave carefully unfolded the tissue paper that enveloped a pair of blood-red long-stem roses, accented with a sprig of baby‘s breath. He checked his hair, and made sure his tie was on straight in the now blank video screen’s lens.

   He reached the top of the stairs. The building was clearly showing it’s age. Not much dilapidation, but it needed new windows, and paint badly. It also suffered from a bad musty odor. Turning left, he saw “1I” down the corridor, near the round windows that faced the street, and under another naked light bulb.

   The door to the apartment, Dave noticed, was dirty and worn like the others, but also featured a few strategically-placed boot prints. Dave‘s mind interpreted those as possible results from Leela‘s ‘Arcturan Lock-picking‘, which made him chuckle under his breath as he knocked. “It’s open, come on in!” He heard through the door.

   Stepping across the threshold into the apartment, Dave smelled the unmistakable hint of a fine perfume. “Have a seat Dave, I’ll be out in sec.” The smell of the perfume made his face feel a little flushed & warm, it felt like he’d just tossed back a double shot of Jack Daniels! Looking around, he liked how simple Leela kept her home. Mostly small pieces of art, kitschy little knick-knacks, and some rather intriguing  paintings up on the walls gave the apartment a nice touch.

   Dave took a moment to make sure he had the item he was going to give Leela safely secured in his jacket’s inner pocket. Just as he poked around with it a little, the door to the back bedroom opened.

   Dave gasped involuntarily a little as his eyes went wide. Stunned so much was he, that he struggled to find words to describe the beauty now standing before him.

   “oh, Leela,,, my god, I’m, , I’m, , I don’t know what to say! You look,,,, you look absolutely stunning! Seriously, I can’t find words to describe how beautiful you look right now!” He said, as his face tightened into a ever broader smile, as he stood up.

   This was the first time he’d seen her dressed in the gown she’d only worn once before. A gown she had dubbed “The Opera Dress”. A small amount of lipstick, and some highlighting to her cheeks were all the makeup she had put on. The biggest difference was in her hair. Normally worn up in her signature ponytail style, tonight, Leela had styled it to let gravity do it‘s job, but styled a little bit. It flowed gracefully down over her shoulders, and covered a little bit of her eye, a style that reminded him of 20th century actress Veronica Lake.

   The fading sunset cast orange beams of light through the slits in the vertical blinds backlighting her figure. Leela attached two small pearl earrings to match her necklace, she held her arms out, and spun around a few times to show off the gown’s features. She looked simply angelic!

   “I could just stand here looking at you all night Leela, I want to remember this moment forever!" Dave said, as he removed his small digital camera from a pocket, and set it up on the corner of a bookshelf.

   The two of them stood side by side, one arm around the other’s hip, Leela’s other arm gently resting on his chest, as the automatic timer beeped three times. The auto timer wound down, triggered the flash, and captured a perfect picture!

   “By the way, these are for you. I hope you like them.” he said, as he handed her the roses.

   “They’re beautiful Dave! Better put em’ in water before we go.” she replied, as she gave him a small kiss.

   “By the way, that suit looks great on you! Did you get it from Colbert‘s?”

   “No, it’s Armonster. Fry suggested that place to me.”

   “That was nice of him. Okay, let’s roll!” said Leela, as she grabbed her purse.

   Outside, the dark blue sky ushered in the night, as a cool evening breeze rustled through the leafy scrub trees that dotted the street. Leela suggested they hail a taxi cab, and not lose any time fighting for a parking spot across town. Dave agreed, as he stuck two fingers in his mouth, whistled, and stuck his arm up in the air to flag down a passing hover-taxi.

(Elzar’s - 09/09/3008 - 1921 NNY time)

   Dave & Leela disembarked from the cab in front of the large, elegantly-decorated restaurant. A chalkboard sign by the front door stairs read “Tonight’s Special - NOTHING, QUIT ASKING!”. Inside, a tall, dark-haired Neptunian hostess in a tight red evening gown offered to take people’s coats as they entered. Dave elected to keep his, just in case the cooler temperature of the restaurant made Leela chilly.

   “Ahh yes, Mister Murphy, table for two. Right this way please, we have one all ready for you near the window if you’d like.” the hostess cooed.

   “The window table’s perfect, thanks.” Dave replied. He couldn’t help but look around at all the other patrons in the place. Nearly all human, a few Neptunians, and The Don Bot & his associates way in back, against the wall. Several people cast stares in their direction, no doubt it was Leela they were looking at.

   Elzar’s was featuring a string quartet that evening. Dave called one of them aside, asked him something, while slipping him a few folded currency bills. “Not a problem sir! We know that one well!”

   A waiter had brought their wine selection, and Dave struck up a conversation about what made Leela decide to fly a spaceship for The Professor.

   She regaled him with all the events of the day leading up to her chasing a newly de-frosted Fry though the ruins of Old New York, being hounded as a job deserter, and finding her passion in life that was flying for a living.

   Dave told her how he had strong ambitions to fly since he was a kid, how his bad eyesight had pretty much killed his dream of doing it for his country. Technical work had always fascinated him, and that path led him to enlisting in the service to fix aircraft, rather than fly them.


   Dave wanted to learn as much as he could about her, so he did most of the question asking. The conversation eventually drifted to family life, the future, what other dreams the two of them had. They both had almost the same ambitions, to be in a relationship, with someone who loved them for who they were, not for something superficial.

   Leela joked a lot about how she felt like the ‘ugly duckling’ in the old fable. Dave cut her off before she finished. “I know you’re joking, but that’s not entirely true. I think you’ve always been beautiful, but nobody’s ever told you that.” he said.

   “Yeah, nobody really has,,, except for Fry.” Leela answered in a low tone.

   The string quartet began playing again. They started into the Boccherini piece Dave had requested.

   “Leela, I want to give you something, I think you’ll understand when you open it.”

   Dave reached into his jacket, extracting a small black clamshell box. Leela’s eye got wide, and one of her hands flew to her mouth to stifle the small gasp.

   “Are you, is this, you can’t be serious?” she whispered at him.

   “Just go ahead, open it. I think you’ll like it.” Dave said with a grin.

   Leela picked up the box, Upon opening it, she felt a little relieved it wasn’t what she thought it was, but a fleeting pang of what she was hoping to get, someday.

   A elegant, silver herringbone necklace laid coiled in the box. Attached to the necklace were two shiny metallic discs. One was one of Dave’s US Navy ‘Dog Tags’, highly polished, the other was shaped like the Dog tag, but was laser inscribed with Dave’s face and name on one half, and Leela’s on the other, with a heart in between them. She flipped the tag over. It was painted like the night sky, but with a message carved in elegant, gold scroll,

“Where ever you go,
  What ever you do,
  I will always be right here,
 Waiting for you!”

To Leela, With all my love, David K. Murphy

   Leela’s gloved hand was still hovering at her mouth, as she read the inscription. Dave saw a single tear splash, and roll down the glove’s velvet surface. Her face was smiling from ear to ear, glowing in the table’s candlelight. “It’s beautiful Dave! I don’t know what to say. I love it, thank you!” she said, daubing her eye with a cloth.

   They sat quietly for a few minutes, enjoying another bottle of excellent wine, and the rest of the string quartet’s performance of  "La Musica Notturna Delle Strade di Madrid no. 6, op. 30”.

   “I also have something for you Dave.” Leela said, as she reached into her purse. She handed him a slightly larger black box, with green ribbon decorating it’s corners. “Hope you like it!” she beamed.

   He slid the ribbon off, lifting the box top, revealing a black and silver device, similar to one Leela owned, but smaller.

   “*gasp* is this a wrist communicator?” Dave said with a grin, as he studied the small 2x2-inch screen, and four small switches beneath it. “Try it on.” she said excitedly.

   Before slipping the device over his left wrist, Dave noticed something on the back of the device’s case.

   “To Dave,
   The future we cannot foresee,
   No matter where you are,
   You’ll never be a Stranger,
   When you think of me.”

   With Love - Turanga Leela

   “Wow! This means a lot to me Leela. I really love it!” Dave said, as he slipped it on, and let her explain how to turn it on, program it, make and receive calls on it.

   The owner, and head chef, Elzar himself stood in the center of the dining room. In a booming voice, he announced that the upstairs club lounge was now open.

   Dave handed the check folder back to the waiter, stood up, and held his hand out to Leela. “You wanna go check it out?”

   “Sure! Might be fun, and I could use a Shrapnel Bomb right about now.”

   “I take it that’s some kinda drink huh?” Dave asked, as they walked up the marble stairs to the club level.

   “Yeah, it’s not too popular. A drink only a tough person would like.” Leela said, getting a little hint of excitement in her voice.

   “How about I go get us a round.” he suggested. It would be a great excuse to go grease the DJ with a little cash to play a certain 20th century song he’d been thinking about.

   Dave strolled up to the bar. “What’ll it be flesh pipe?” the robot bartender yelled in his direction.
“Two Shrapnel Bombs please!” he replied
   “Ohhh, tough guy eh? Comin’ right up!” The bartender said, as he filled his shaker with the dangerously strong cocktail of Boomshine & Martian Fire Water.

   The lounge was full of happy couples relaxing with drinks in hand. Some had started working their way over to the dance floor, as the DJ’s equipment began cranking out a loud, upbeat type of music Dave had never heard before.

   With their drinks in hand, Dave & Leela watched as people who looked normal downstairs a couple of hours ago, began to cut loose on the dance floor, the more intoxicated they became. The Shrapnel Bomb was like drinking razor blades coated with super glue! No matter how hard he tried to swallow, it just didn’t seem to go down! “Watch that first one! It’s always the toughest!” Leela said laughing as she watched Dave’s facial reaction to the potent cocktail. He said to hell with it, slamming down the rest of the drink in one gulp!

   Dave walked out in front of where she stood, looked back at her, extending his arm towards her. “My dear, would you care to dance?” Dave asked in a mock pompous voice. Leela extended her arm, tossed her drink aside, and walked out to grasp his hand, as they sauntered onto the flashing, multi-colored dance floor.

   Never being a good dancer, Dave mostly tried to follow along with what the other guys were doing with their dates. As the alcohol permeated his brain, he really didn’t care how good, or how stupid he looked, it’s just felt great to be out  having a good time with someone he loved!

(Outside Apartment 1I, 09/09/3008 - 2237 NNY time)

   Leela laughed loudly, as she stumbled a little getting out of the hover-cab. A result of alcohol, and the randy joke Dave had just told her.

   “Wait, wait here, I need to get something out of my truck.” Dave said, as he popped open the passenger side door, and extracted the long, black guitar case.

   Upstairs, Leela had set a pot of coffee on to brew. While she busied herself, he settled into the darkened living room, only turning on one set of track lights near the sofa. Dave extracted the white & gold Ibanez from it’s case, de-tuned it to the right key, and fiddled with a small device The Professor helped him build.

   The small device Professor Farnsworth helped construct was similar to what a 20th century Pedal Board did, only much smaller, and with many more sound options. Dave set his tone, volume, and the effects selector to make the electric instrument to simulate an acoustic guitar’s rich, resonating sound. The device also added backup vocals, drum tracks, rhythm, and bass guitar backing for a myriad of musical genres, all could be added by internet download, or in Dave’s case, synched from an MP3 player, such as his iPod.

   Leela walked into the room carrying two mugs of hot coffee. She had changed out of the gorgeous evening gown, into her pink silk pajamas, and pulled her hair back up into it’s normal ponytail while the coffee was brewing.

   Dave perked up as she sat beside him on the sofa. A hint of her perfume wafted in his direction, which made his pulse quicken a little bit. “So, what did you want to show me?” Leela asked quizzically, as she took in the sight before her.

   “I thought I’d play something for you, something I feel describes emotionally what I feel when I think about you.” Dave said softly, while staring at his reflection in her eye.

   He stood up, plugged the Ibanez into the effects device, made one final adjustment, plucked a few strings to check sound, and pushed the red start switch.

   A white light on the device directed Dave to start playing his main part. A rich acoustic guitar sound resonated off the walls of Leela’s small apartment, as Dave played the intro, and began to sing in a low voice,

“Hush now, don't you cry
Wipe away the teardrop from your eye
You're lying safe in bed
It was all a bad dream
Spinning in your head
Your mind tricked you to feel the pain
Of someone close to you leaving the game of life
So here it is, another chance
Wide awake you face the day
Your dream is over... or has it just begun?”

   Instantly, right on cue, Dave’s lead was joined by a rhythm acoustic guitar, bass, and drums from the device on the floor, as they all flowed together seamlessly to play Queensryche’s  Silent Lucidity.

“There's a place I like to hide
A doorway that I run through in the night
Relax child, you were there
But only didn't realize it and you were scared
It's a place where you will learn
To face your fears, retrace the years
And ride the whims of your mind
Commanding in another world
Suddenly you hear and see
This magic new dimension

I will be watching over you
I’m gonna help you see it through
I will protect you in the night
I’m smiling next to you, in Silent Lucidity”

   Leela sat perfectly still, her eye fixed on him, as his hands flew up & down the fret board, executing the solo portion of the song flawlessly, just as he practiced so many times over and over.

“If you open your mind for me
You won't rely on open eyes to see
The walls you built within
Come tumbling down, and a new world will begin
Living twice at once you learn
You're safe from the pain in the dream domain
A soul set free to fly
A round trip journey in your head
Master of illusion, can you realize
Your dream's alive, you can be the guide but...

I will be watching over you
I’m gonna help to see it through
I will protect you in the night
I’m smiling next to you.…”

   The room went silent for a second, then the sound of a cello, and double bass played out, accompanying his guitar, as the song ended with the finale of Brahms’s Lullaby.

   Leela went to his side as he placed the Ibanez down in it’s case. “Beautiful, I loved it!” she said, as they embraced and kissed.

   She asked him to stay a little while longer. A program she liked, The Scary Door, was coming on, and Dave happily agreed to watch it with her.

   It didn’t take long for the combination of wine, “shrapnel bombs“, and the calming glow of the TV screen to cause both of them to nod off to sleep on her overstuffed sofa.

   Dave awoke later to find the show had ended, and clock on the wall showing well after one in the morning. Leela was still fast asleep next to him. Normally, he would have just got up & left, but aware of his deep feelings for Leela, something inside told him that wouldn’t be right.

   He gently lifted her up, carrying her though the darkened apartment, and placing her down in her bed. Dave stayed for a few minutes, watching the moonlight play across her hair as she slept peacefully. He pulled the satin bed sheet up around her, softly kissing her forehead, then settling back on the couch.

   “No, leaving her wouldn’t be a good idea, not tonight.” Dave thought, as he felt consciousness slip away, and sleep wash over him.

La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #23 on: 03-17-2009 18:34 »

                    Written By La Belle Leela

Chapter 12

“The Court Martial of Zapp Brannigan, Part One.”

(D.O.O.P. Central Administration Facility, 09/15/3008 - 0800 NNY time)

   The day for Zapp Brannigan’s court-martial had arrived. Leela, Fry, Dave, Bender, and Amy were scheduled to testify that morning. The case against Brannigan was strong, no chance he’d get away with his usual slap on the hand punishment. He’d crossed the line with the Zuban-5 incident, and there would be serious repercussions he‘d have to pay for.

   The Planet Express employees assembled at the curb, as Dave secured his truck. Leela and Amy, both looked sharp as always in their business suit/miniskirt attire. Both Dave and Fry wore suits, everyone nervously anticipating the pre-trial procedures.

   Amy spotted Kif across the courtyard, whispered something to Leela, and went to his side. The remaining foursome stood around, making small conversation. Dave smiling, and complimenting Leela on her appearance, as usual. Fry and Bender checking the “Space Vegas” odds on the trial’s outcome.

   Dave had done something similar to this before. He’d testified at a USN Judge Advocate General inquiry for the defense of the crew of one of his squadron’s F-14s, when they ejected after the aircraft suffered catastrophic engine failure.

(Courtroom 6-A, 09/15/3008 - 0915 NNY time)

   “All Riiiiise, Military Judge, Adm. Robert T. Johnson presiding, This General Court-Martial will come to order!” A large, barrel-chested MP  barked. A tall, wiry man, with a sharp looking crew cut climbed into his seat behind the bench.

   The Judge cleared his throat. “This trial is to hear testimony today, under Article 32 of the DOOP Uniform Code of Justice. The accused stands charged with violations of Articles 81, 85, 88, 89, and most seriously, Articles 92, 93, AND Article 94!” The Judge said venomously, as his stare burned into where Zapp Brannigan was seated. “Further charges of violating Article 104, aiding a known enemy may be imposed at a later date, pending the outcome of this Court-Martial.”

   Dave and The Planet Express employees sat still, as they listened to the growing list of Zapp’s charges. Bender satisfied himself with his boredom simulator, and checking the Vegas odds again, but upping the ante, by betting on him getting the death penalty.

   The lead prosecutor began by addressing the jury, and presenting the memory card that contained Bender’s downloaded testimony from the Zuban-5 delivery.

   A large plasma-screen monitor unfolded at the front of the Judge’s bench. The prosecutor inserted the memory card into the side of the screen, where it began to play immediately.

   The footage of Bender’s memory started as the Planet Express ship descended towards the huge landing pad. The prosecutor paused the video, as he pointed out to the jury how Bender’s optical sensor showed Brannigan’s large, white DOOP shuttlecraft parked on the pad in front of New Robot Hell.

   He then forwarded the recording to the mountain opening up, and the Robot Devil’s minions assaulting, and then imprisoning the crew. Several members of the jury gasped in horror. One woman juror nearly fainted after hearing the language Bender used, upon being struck with the electrostatic weapon.

   The recording fast-forwarded to the part where they were standing on the rocky alcove, about the time Brannigan walked out to greet them. “Looks like that Article 104 charge will come in handy!” Dave whispered to Leela.

   Having finished with the robot’s video evidence, the prosecutor called David K. Murphy to the witness stand. Dave stood up, stared nervously at his co-workers, but Leela smiled at him, giving his hand a squeeze, and whispered “Good luck!” as he shuffled up to the bench.

   After being sworn in, Dave was asked to give his testimony in great detail, to which he didn’t disappoint. Brannigan’s face grew tight, getting a shade more red, as Dave gave riveting details describing the battle which ensued.

   “At this point, I’d like to show the jury Mr. Bender’s memory footage of that escalation.”

   “Objection!” screamed Brannigan’s attorney, a slick, 1980s cliché of a lawyer. “This is irrelevant, He’s stalling!”

   “Over-ruled, I’ll allow it. Prosecution, you better be going somewhere with this.” The judge spat.

   The video display showed the hellacious fire-fight, as Bender, Dave, Fry, and Leela were fighting their way towards the exit. Everyone in the courtroom gasped when the Planet Express ship came crashing through the mountain, to aid the DOOP Marines, and their co-workers.

   The video continued for a few minutes. The jury watched as they could see Dave and Leela carrying Fry towards the exit. Just as they reached the exit, they could see two lasers hit Dave, dropping him to the ground. The camera in Bender’s eye focused on three individuals, as his head whipped around to see who fired the shots.

   Shouts of anger, and outrage began to pepper the courtroom, as the Judge furiously slammed his gavel down repeatedly, calling for order.

   Bender’s eye-camera focused closer on the three figures. Two DOOP Marines were bringing Zapp Brannigan up the path towards the exit. Brannigan managed to break free of their grip, snatching a plasma pistol from one Marine’s holster, his face screwed up in pain & anger, as he took aim, firing the two shots that seriously wounded Dave.

   The courtroom fell silent. “No further questions your honor.” said the prosecutor.

   “Defense, your witness.” The Judge said, as the video continued to roll, showing Zapp being tackled by the two Marines. “Ooof! You men tackle good! A bit too much Greco-Roman style, but I like it!” the audio played, as Brannigan’s voice trailed off.
   Brannigan’s attorney whispered something in his ear before approaching the witness stand. “Counsel! Your witness! We haven’t got all day!” The Judge roared.

   “Mister Murphy, tell me, what do you do for a living?”

   Remembering the career chip that irritated his flesh under the skin of his left hand, Dave felt slightly relieved. “I’m an interim maintenance man, I do odd jobs for Professor Farnsworth.”

   The attorney flinched a little, not expecting to hear that from Dave. Brannigan had assured him that Dave was an ‘Unknown’, someone with no background, no career chip, nothing.

   “I seeeee. Would you mind holding out your hand please?” The attorney stammered, as he pulled a scanner from his briefcase.

   Dave’s mind reeled. Luckily, Leela remembered to remove the ersatz career chip beforehand.

   The little device beeped, then spit out a paper ticket. “Hmmm, Strange. It seems you‘re either dead, or you have NO permanent career chip!” He said, becoming increasingly hostile.

   The courtroom was filled with gasps and whispering. Eyes of complete strangers bored into Dave’s face, he felt like he was a bug under a microscope.

   “Mister Murphy, please tell the court how you came to be employed at Planet Express?” Dave was in a corner now. He had to think of something quick. He quickly glanced at his friends in the crowd. Leela and Amy were grimacing, teeth clenched, with fingers crossed for luck.

   Dave looked the attorney in the eyes, exhaled slowly, and gave him the whole truth.

   “It’s all very strange. I came here from the 21st century three months ago.” Louder gasps erupted from the crowd of people before him. “Here, I’ll show you your honor.” Dave said, as he extricated his Florida driver’s license from his black leather wallet, then handing it to the nearest MP.

   “I, , , see. Well now, Just how in Cheech’s Ghost did you manage to travel across one thousand years time, and sit before court today?” Judge Johnson asked tersely.

   “Your Honor, as my license says, I was born in the year 1978. I am a 30-year old male resident of the State of Florida. I was driving home late one night after work, when my truck was swallowed by this weird blue light. Next thing I know, I slam into a brick wall going 70 miles per hour, and get knocked unconscious by the airbag, and two tons of stone wall!”

   The Judge looked at Dave in awe, as did nearly everybody in the courtroom. “Please, continue sir.” The Judge asked.

   “Later that night, I found out I was in a place called Planet Express. The employees you see seated here today, they were kind and gracious enough to give me medical attention, repair my truck, and provide me with a place to stay. I found out the next day, I was brought here by a machine of Professor Farnsworth’s invention, that had malfunctioned.”

   Zapp’s attorney replied “That’s all well and good, but are you aware that we still have laws in the future? You have to be implanted with a chip in order to have a job, have a home, have a life in general!”

   Brannigan jumped out of his seat yelling, “And you also can’t viciously attack an innocent, 25-star General either!”

   Judge Johnson slammed his gavel twice, “One more outburst, and the defendant will be held in contempt! Control your client counsel, I’m not gonna remind you again!”

   Zapp’s attorney continued to cross-examine Dave for most of the morning.

   “Since you arrived at Planet Express, do you regularly fly on deliveries?”

   “Not at first. After a few weeks, I recovered enough, and got curious enough about The Professor’s space ship. His crew invited me to ride along, to experience space travel for the first time. Had I known it would be illegal for me to go, I wouldn’t have flown.”

   “I see, and tell the court about your alleged striking of General Brannigan  on June 4 of this year.”

   “Completely in self-defense. Mr. Brannigan put his hands on me in a manner I deemed to be hostile.” Dave answered calmly.

   “You didn’t assault him due to comments he made towards your Captain, a Miss Turanga Leela?”

   “No, His comments upset me very much. Captain Leela is good woman, and an excellent pilot. She didn’t deserve to harassed like that, but I did not attack him for his vulgarity.” Dave answered firmly.

   “Mister Murphy, may I remind you you’re under oath. You’re certain you did not fly into a violent rage, and strike General Brannigan, a decorated war hero, with a blunt metallic object, all because of some minor, off-color comment?”

“OBJECTION!” The prosecutor yelled, “Defense is badgering the witness!”

   “Sustained, knock it off counselor!” barked The Judge.

   Dave breathed a heavy sigh before giving his answer.

   “My memory is still hazy from the collision. The only people I remember are those that I work with. I admit that even though we’re co-workers, Miss Turanga and I have become close in the past few months. General Brannigan’s comments that day, however lewd, and inappropriate they may have been, did not anger me to the point of attacking him. He put his hands on me in a way I felt was hostile, and I defended myself.”

   “What did General Brannigan try to arrest you for Mr. Murphy?”

   “Mr. Brannigan was convinced that I was a stowaway.” Dave replied.

   “Correct sir, as is compliant with DOOP law, stowing away is considered unlawful, , , under most circumstances. Did you, or your Captain explain to General Brannigan why you were not listed on the manifest?”

   “Yes sir. To which Mr. Brannigan began to accuse Ms. Turanga of sneaking around on him with another man. They began to argue, and he decided to arrest me out of spite.”

   When Dave’s testimony was finished, Judge Johnson ordered that court-martial be adjourned until 9am the following morning.

   That evening, Dave and the others all sat around a corner booth at O’Zorgnax’s. Only small talk was exchanged. Everyone sat back in their seats, trying to forget about the day as best as they could.

   Dave’s fate was now in question. Would they imprison him? Would equally harsh penalties befall his friends at Planet Express, or could they force Farnsworth to return him to 2008, possible putting the entire known universe in peril from the Nibblonian Prophecy.

(D.O.O.P. Central Administration Facility, 09/15/3008 - 0900 NNY time)

   The large MP called the court’s attention with his booming “ALL RIIISE”. It seemed strange, as both the prosecution, and defense personnel were absent. Judge Johnson began the day’s proceedings, he announced that he had a special matter to attend to before the court-martial resumed.

   The Judge looked over at the mostly empty section where the Planet Express employees were seated.

   “I’d like to ask if Mr. David K. Murphy would please stand before the court.”

   Dave was shocked, Fry, Leela, Amy, and Bender all looked at him in horror as he stood up.  A million thoughts raced through his head. Was this where they would drag him away? Incarceration? Or worse, tear him away from his new friends.

   Dave instinctively stood at attention in front of the bench. The Judge looked deep in thought as he studied Dave’s posture for a moment, noticing his hands were at his sides, thumbs along the seams of his trousers, and he stared straight ahead into nothing.

   “Mister Murphy, I have a question. Would you happen to be former military?”

   “Yes your Honor, I proudly served with the United States Navy, 2000 to 2001.” he proudly answered.

   “Why so short son?”

   “Your Honor, I was severely injured in a training accident during a pre-deployment work-up before my first cruise, and was medically discharged at 100%.”

   “Hell, that’s a damn shame son! I come from a long line of Navy men & women in my family as well.” The Judge replied, in a little calmer voice, as he leaned back in his chair a bit.

   “I’d also like to express my gratitude for your testimony yesterday. I understand you’re in a little bit of a situation. Your actions on Zuban-5 were remarkable! Any normal civilian would have high-tailed it outta there, if they managed to escaped. Yet, you stayed, at great personal risk to rescue your co-workers, and your captain! Can you tell me what made you do that?”

   Dave braced his stance even tighter, as he replied. “HONOR!, , ,  Sir, I am a Navy man, and I always will be. My friends needed help, and I was prepared, if necessary, to give my life that day, just to save theirs.”

   Judge Johnson nodded his head in agreement. “Yes, I recall you pulling Mr. Fry to safety when he was initially wounded.”

   “Mister Murphy, at this time, I would like to make it known to you, and the court that as a Judiciary Official, and an Admiral, It is within my authority, and with my gratitude, that I would like to grant you full citizenship, with all the rights and privileges that go with it!”

   Dave held his stance, trying hard, but failing to hide the grin spreading across his face. He heard Leela and Amy whispering excitedly at the back of the courtroom.

   The Judge had officially swore Dave in a official, living, breathing Earthican citizen shortly after 9:30 that morning!

   When he finished, he thanked everyone for doing their part in giving their testimony, assuring them that justice would be served. Judge Johnson rapped his gavel twice, as he dismissed the Planet Express crew.

   They all rushed to Dave’s side, furiously congratulating him. “WOOOOO! BEER PARTY AT THE OFFICE! EHHEHEH HEH!” Bender loudly exclaimed.

   They exited the busy court house, amongst the throngs of people coming and going. Everyone stopped next to the large pole mounted in the concrete in front of the DOOP complex. An enormous Earthican flag waved in the morning breeze. Dave looked up at it, thirteen stripes, and the planet Earth on a blue background. He felt a little strange, but exhilarated none the less.  He let his gaze fall back down, his eyes laid upon Leela’s face, smiling at him as usual, as she placed an arm around his waist, pulling them together. “This is for you *kiss* I’m happy for you!” She said, as they kissed again.

   “Eh, meat bags, let’s go! We got beer to consume! Chop-chop!” Bender shouted, as he climbed into the backseat of the hover-truck.

   “But Bender, the liquor store isn’t open yet.” Fry exclaimed.

   “Ohhhh, it will be when we get there, It will be!” Bender said, as he thumped his chest triumphantly.


(Planet Express building, 09/16/3008 - 1300 hours NNY time)

   One by one, the hung over Planet Express trudged into the office through the front door. Fry, Dave, Amy, and Leela all slumped on, or around the couch the TV lounge, as they tried to shake off the after effects of yesterdays booze-soaked party celebrating Dave’s receipt of Earthican citizenship.

   Hermes entered the lounge. He gave his presentation while moving around the room, trying to avoid the empty bottles being launched at him, a vain effort to shut him up.

   “Uhhh, no way am I flying with this migraine!” Leela moaned, as she repositioned a cold hand towel across her closed eyelid, after firing an half-empty bottle of Jeremiah Weed XIV whiskey in his direction.

   “Relax people. ‘dere’s no mission today. Da professor’s buyin’ some property across da street, and as da bureaucrat assigned to Planet Express, ‘dat means a whole tonna paperwork will ‘ave to be done mon. I’m so excited, I jus’ had to tell da lot of yeh!” Hermes said, with his voice going an octave higher, right along with his enthusiasm for paperwork.

   The door from the hangar swished open, as Professor Farnsworth shuffled into the lounge.

   “Ahhh, my intrepid crew! I see Hermes has broken the good news!”

   The others just groaned listlessly, as Farnsworth paused.

   “Eugh-yes. I’ve purchased the abandoned vacant lot across the street! All these years in the same building has left me short of free space to build the many, many experiments my cavernous brain still has careening madly around inside it. So, I’m having a storage facility built to house my numerous scientific creations!”

   And with those words, a tremendous explosion rang out, followed by sharp, staccato vibrations they all felt through the floor.

   As they all ran out the front door, and around the corner, they could see a team of robot laborers pounding steel girders into the bare earth. Other robots welded I-beams, mixed concrete, and laid pre-formed steel re-bar into the foundation, now rapidly taking shape.

   “Euugh-yes! Let me show you!” Farnsworth said, as he began crossing the street full of busy, rush hour traffic.

   Hover-cars and trucks careened wildly to avoid The Professor, as he marched straight across from the Planet Express building, to his new warehouse under construction. An angry cab driver shouted his discontent. “GET HOME BASTARD MAN!” as he laid on the horn.

   The warehouse’s concrete floor had already set, and three of it’s four walls were standing when the Planet Express crew walked in to observe.

   Dave marveled at the speed of the building’s progress. Amazed that the robots could do in one afternoon, what would take a vast army of human contractors at least a month to do in his time.

   Fry, Dave, and Bender spent the better part of an hour goofing around, and getting in the way of the worker robots, prompting the foreman to yell angrily in their general direction every few minutes. The building now had a completed sliding roof, just like the Planet Express building, except there was an identical door in the floor, right below it that led to a cavernous underground laboratory, and heavy equipment storage deck.

   Professor Farnsworth strolled around the nearly completed building with Leela, and Amy in tow. They paused as Farnsworth led them to a darkened area at the rear of the warehouse.

   “What’s this room for?” Amy said, as she snapped on a flashlight’s power switch. Farnsworth stumbled around for a minute, before finding the wall switch.

   “Ahhh, there we go!” He said, as the overhead lights revealed a spacious, split-level 2 room apartment. “This will be the living quarters for the building’s caretaker, eughh, of course, I have to find a caretaker first.” Farnsworth mumbled.

   “What about that guy with the funny smell and the weird mustache, isn’t he your caretaker?” said Amy.
   “Ohhh yes! Scruffy I think he’s called. Yes, he does a fine job for me, but I can’t have him running both buildings, he’s overworked enough as is!”
   Always the quick thinker, Leela spoke up. “What about Dave?”

   “WHOOO?” Farnsworth yelled.

   “You know, the new guy you hired, the guy who’s been hanging around for the last three months, *sigh*, THE GUY WHO’S TRUCK YOU BROKE!” She yelled into his hearing aid, as Farnsworth kept giving her the deer in the headlights look.

   “Hmmm, interesting. As my Captain, I should be valuing your opinion, but to hell with that! I choose ZOIDBERG!” He gleefully yelled, with both arms raised. “Now, where is that Decapodian dumb-ass?”

   Leela could only sigh heavily, and lay her face in the palm of her hand in disgust. “I’ll be out in the hangar bay, before I put somebody through a wall!” Leela said, as she left the room.

   Leela’s face was illuminated by the newly installed overhead lighting in the hangar, now being tuned on for the very first time. A worker droid finished spot welding the last seam on a ventilator duct, as Sal, the construction foreman handed her the invoice paperwork, and gave his standard, droll thank-you speech. “Thank youse for choosing Hoffa Constructo-matic. We realize youse have a choice of “3 hours, or it’s free” building services, and hope youse chooses us for future building needs.”

   “GOOD NEWS EVERYONE!” came the Professor’s voice echoing through the cavernous, empty warehouse.

   “I need somebody to look after my new storage facility.” He said, as he shuffled over to where Fry, Bender, Amy, Leela and Dave were standing. He very gingerly put his outstretched right hand up on Dave’s shoulder.

   “I was trying to think of somebody responsible to look after my research warehouse. Why Zoidberg’s name popped into my head I have no idea why, but I was hoping you’d help a doddering, old mad scientist take care of his many inventions.”

   Dave was awestruck. Until today, he’d only been asked to be a temp, a fill-in, if Fry wasn’t able to deliver a package.

   “Eugh-yes! I wanted to ask if you’d like the job of keeping the place in order, killing owls, help in plotting against Wernstrom, eugh-so on & so forth.”

   “Well, , , I do have a permanent career chip now, that means I’d have a regular job, and I can find a place to live also!” Dave said excitedly

   Leela interrupted, “You won’t have to. There’s a complete two-bedroom suite build into the back of this place!” she said, with a smile.

   Dave didn’t have to think long. He strolled around the empty hangar bay, lost in thought for a few seconds. “Okay! Professor, , , I’ll do it! Only on one condition, if I can still be the back up delivery guy & go on missions every now & then!”

   “I don’t see why not! Okay, you’ve got a deal!” Farnsworth said, as he glanced down at his watch. “Ohhh myyy, it’s nearly six. I have somewhere to be!”

   “SIX? Ohh lord! I totally forgot!” said Leela, as she smacked her hand against her forehead. Turning her attention to Dave, she sheepishly asked him, “Uhhhh, you aren’t by any chance doing something tonight are you?” He shook his head a steady “no”. “Well, I kinda told my parents we’d come down for dinner tonight. Sorry.” she said, giggling nervously a little.
   He just stared back. Of course he had nothing to do that night, nor any other night for the last three months, but he couldn’t resist having some fun with her dilemma.

   “Welllll, I don’t knowww, it’s kinda short notice and alllll.” he said, glancing at his wrist-thingy, trying his best not to crack a smile.

   He made it look like he was searching his wrist-thingy’s date book, dragging the scene out a little longer, before long he could tell she was waiting on his answer, on pins & needles!

   Dave’s face drooped, “Oh, you know,,,,” Leela couldn’t stand it anymore. She playfully back hand slapped his arm. “OW! Okay okay! Yes, I’d love to go with you & see your folks!” Leela’s face brightened up immediately. “Oh, you snake! You like joke around huh? Okay, I owe ya one now bub!” She said, as she looked in his eyes, smiling.

Bending Unit
« Reply #24 on: 03-17-2009 19:41 »

Hi Torgo, just noticed this story; glad you decided to continue posting on PEEL as well as TLZ.
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #25 on: 03-18-2009 05:54 »

Thanks. I'm up to Chapter 15, which is now up over at FM/TLZ.

The Torgo name has been assimilated! big grin and I no longer post, or write under that name.
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #26 on: 03-24-2009 05:10 »

                    Written By La Belle Leela

Chapter 13

The Court-Martial of Zapp Brannigan, Part II

(O’Zorgnax’s Pub, 09/16/3008 - 1900 hours NNY time)

   Fry stared blankly into his beer mug. He’d been trying to put his past attempts with Leela behind him, but sometimes, they would rush to the front of his mind. Even though he’d been seeing Lt. Jeannie Sims, a legal assistant with the DOOP, even thinking about her wasn’t enough to get his mind on something else.

   “Ehhh buddy! How’s it hangin’?” said Bender, as he planted his metal posterior in the adjacent seat to Fry’s left.

   “Meh, I’ve been better. I still think about her Bender. Even though I know she’s happy again, I still want to keep trying.”

   Bender clanked back another 40oz of Olde Fortran, belched and stared off. “Yeahh, well, trying’s the first step towards failure. That’s what ol’ Bender says!” as he lit up a huge stogie.

   The bartender furiously scrubbed at a stubborn stain on the bar top. “Nnnngh! Corrosion resistant steel, my ass!” He muttered angrily under his breath.

   “Heyyy, I know what ya mean buddy!” said Bender, as he thumped his fist against his undercarriage. “I’ve got one of those too!”

   Fry sensed somebody sit down to his right, but didn’t look. “Can a young, single lady buy a stranger a drink?” cooed a female voice in Fry’s ear. He spun around in his chair, seeing it was Jeannie who sat beside him.

   “Heyyy, what are you doing here? This is a cool surprise!” Fry said, sounding much happier all of the sudden.

   “Fry, I wanted to know if you were free tonight. There’s a star imploding near Corona Borealis, wanna go check it out?”

   “BUTT OUT LADY! C’mon Fry, let’s hit the Squid Fights down at the docks! We‘ll have a good ol‘ time!” Bender shouted, giving Jeannie an evil stare.

   “Aww, sorry Bender. Normally I’d be there with you at the fights like I always do when I‘m upset, but I’m not feeling so down anymore. You understand, right?”

   Bender looked at the stained floor for a moment, then back up at Fry & Jeannie.

   “Sure, , , of course I do. I guess, , , it‘s nothing a night full of binge drinking & rippin‘ stuff off can‘t fix!” He said glumly.

   “There ya go! I knew you’d understand!” Fry said enthusiastically, as he paid his tab, and left arm in arm with Jeannie.

   Bender stayed at the pub, watching Fry, as he disappeared from view. “*sigh* Where’s a suicide booth when ya need it?” he moaned, as he exited.

(Planet Express - 09/19/3008, 0900 hours NNY time)

   “So what’d you two do this weekend?” Amy said, in the general direction of where Leela and Dave were sitting. Everyone slumped over the conference table in their seats, as was the normal activity before a Monday morning meeting.

   Leela turned her head towards Amy, answering nonchalantly,  “Oh, dinner at my folks Friday night, that was nice. We had a nice long walk around the sewers, which gave us time to talk, you know, about stuff.”

   “How did you like the sewers n’ junk Dave?” Amy said.

   Finishing a swig of coffee, he said “It’s different, of course, Old New York, it’s regular New York to me, just like it is to Fry. What amazes me is how the people down there can thrive in their own society, with little influence from the aboveground world!” he said, as he tapped his finger on the table.

   Leela smiled. She loved how Dave never called them “Mutants”. Morris & Munda were also glad to hear this, when they asked him about his thoughts, and how he’d reacted the first time he met the subterranean dwellers.

   “It’s a damn shame. They don’t deserve to be treated like that.” Dave said, as he took another swig of his coffee. “I mean, they’re humans, same as us, and just because they have a little extra this, or an out of proportion that, , , It’s just, sad!" Turning to the others at the table, he asked, “Would they get treated like that if they were from another planet?”

   Leela straightened up in her seat. “No, they probably wouldn’t,. I know it’s a sad existence for them, but they’ve been exiled down there for hundreds of years. Problem is, there hasn’t been any political movement, or civic action to help them. Most of them dislike us, just as much as our society hates and fears them.”

   Dave tried to put his thoughts about the mutants behind him, as Hermes entered the room to start the meeting.

   “Irie people. We gotta biiiig order dis’ morning’. 600 tons of concrete mix for Gambino-4, and this big, oversized, custom-made couch for Omicron Persei-8.” Professor Farnsworth walked in on the meeting, nothing out of the ordinary, but only that he was wearing nothing!

   “Oh lorrrd! Professor, did you, forget something this morning?” Leela said, her face turning a little red, as she held a hand up to one side of it.

   “Wooh! Eugh-ohh myyy, hee hee! I guess I did!” he said, after opening the refrigerator. “I guess my mind’s been elsewhere this morning! Eugh-byeeeee!” he said, as he shuffled back to his lab.

   With the meeting adjourned, Leela and Amy set to making the ship ready for flight. “Fry, Bender, you guys load the cargo, while we prep the ship.” she said, with her voice trailing off, as she & Amy climbed the stairwell-landing gear.

   With the Planet Express crew off on their delivery, There wasn’t much for Dave to do in the headquarters building. After moving a few more of The Professor’s inventions over to the new Lab/Warehouse, he had some time to perform some much-needed maintenance on his truck.

   The new warehouse was spacious. Even with most of Farnsworth’s antiquated inventions there,  plenty of open floor space remained. The lower level, under the massive retractable concrete slab, stood bare.

   A few hours later, Leela, and the crew returned from the day’s deliveries. Fry nearly plowed Amy into a wall, as he rushed to the phone, to call Jeannie.

   “Hey big-boots. I don’t get it. What’s that female flesh-pile got that I ain’t got?” Bender said to Leela.

   “Benderrrr, you’re just upset that Fry’s spending more time with his girlfriend than you, aren’t you.” She said, sympathetically.

   “Yeahhhh. Ever since the trial, he’s been going ga-ga over that perky little sausage link!”

   “You should be happy for him. I mean, he’s happy whenever you go out with some random Fem-bot  right?”

   “Yeah, but he knows that’s just to fill a cyclical temporary emotional void that’s been programmed into me. Well, guess I’ll go stalk Calculon. That usually makes me feel better. Mmmmm, Cal-cu-lonnnnn! Hee hee, ‘scuse me!” he said dreamily, as he clanked away, donning a ski mask & running out of the building.

   Leela excused herself, and went outside. The early afternoon sky was turning a clear, deep blue, following the passage of a cold front.

   Walking in through the Planet Express warehouse’s side door, Leela could hear some unfamiliar music echoing from the main deck.

   Dave had his truck powered and hovering at idle. His iPod connected to the stereo interface device, and booming out the heavy, grinding sound of “Here to Stay” by the 20th century metal band Korn.

   He was oblivious to Leela’s presence. Dave moved from under the truck’s rear bed electronics bay, to the huge, gleaming blue powder-coated steel tool box, a complete assortment of Arclight-brand tools that The Professor graciously let him use whenever he needed to.

   She snickered under her breath. “Perfect! Payback time!” she thought, as she slinked along the warehouse wall, stealthily, just as Phnog had taught her to do.

   Over the sound of the hover truck’s idling power plant, there was little chance he’d have heard the sound of someone about to pounce on him.

   Reaching for a 11/32 socket and a torque wrench, Dave thought he saw a fleeting shadow out of the corner of his eye. The hair on his neck stood up, as if he knew someone was coming up behind him. He quickly put the torque wrench in his striking hand, and slowly began to look around, as he bent down in a crouched position.

   Before he could even react, he felt a pair of rock-hard knees slam him chest-first onto the cold concrete floor, by someone who obviously knew how to take a person down.

   Rolling onto his back to gain a better defensive posture, Dave swung his left hand upward across his chest, tightly gripping the heavy steel torque wrench.

   “WHAT THE HELL?” Dave screamed, as he dropped the torque wrench. A split second earlier, and it would have slammed home into his attacker’s face, before he saw it was Leela who jumped on him.

   She just cracked a little smile “Gotcha!” she whispered, as she leaned down, & gave him an apologetic kiss.

   “Ohhh, I get it.” He said, nodding his head with a laugh, “Payback for the little joke I pulled last week, heh! Guess I had it coming!” Dave said while getting up, and brushing himself off.

   Leela was about to say something before being interrupted by her wrist assistant thingy. “Eeugh, hello? Blast, how do you work this thing?”

   “Heard you loud n’ clear Professor.” Leela drolly answered.

   “Ohh goody. I need everyone back here, I have some good news!”

   As they started to walk together, she looked over at Dave again, regaining her train of thought.

   “I had a great time the other night. I still can’t remember how I got from the couch to my bed that night, I really must have been wasted.” Leela said, talking down to the ground as they walked.

   “That’s easy, I carried you there. Passed out or not, you certainly didn’t look very comfortable on the sofa.” Dave replied, hearing Leela gasp as he told her.

   “By your gasp, I take it you’re not too happy with my decision?” he said, as he looked at her.

   Leela stopped, with an unhappy look on her face, she answered.

   “No, , , it’s just, sometimes, I wish I didn’t over-do it on the hooch. It was very sweet of you, none of my dates has ever treated me with the kindness and respect you’ve given me." Leela said, as she hugged Dave in the fading light of the warehouse’s hangar bay.

   He returned her embrace just as tightly, gently running a hand through the purple bangs of her hair. He noticed her eye looking glassy with the reflection of the sunlight from the bay windows. “You okay?” he whispered.

   “Yeah, I don’t mean to get all emotional.” she said, with a shaky little giggle.

   “Leela, you don’t have to be ashamed to show me how you feel. You’re a strong woman, that’s what I admire about you! Besides, keeping it inside only makes it ten times worse when it finally breaks out of you.” Dave said.

   “Yeah, , , ooh! We better get going! The Professor’s expecting us!” Leela exclaimed, as she glanced at her wrist.

   “So, I thought maybe we could do something on Sunday night. I read about a concert over at the MHOP. Some of the best Neptunian opera singers are performing, they’re even going to do stuff from the 20th!” she said, as they resumed their trek across the hangar bay.

   Smiling, he answered, “I can’t say no to that Leela. I’d love to go!” as they walked out of the warehouse, and over to the Planet Express office.

(Planet Express Headquarters - 09/19/3008, 1800 hours NNY time)

   Hermes had everyone gathered on the hangar deck, when Dave and Leela walked in.

“Whattup guys, over here!” Fry shouted, calling their attention to a spot in front of the huge, green spaceship. No sooner than they arrived, Amy walked into the hangar, a huge smile plastered across her cute face.

   “What’s going on Amy? You certainly look happy.” Leela exclaimed.

   Everyone was stunned to see Kif Kroker enter, following Amy. Kif was dressed sharply, as always, in his DOOP Class-A uniform.

   “Oooh, I’m just so excited! Amy, dearest, why don’t you tell them!” Kif squeaked.

   “My Kiffie’s getting promoted! They’re having a huge ceremony, n’ stuff this Saturday night! We’re all invited!!!” Amy shouted, her happiness causing her to hop in place excitedly.

   The room broke out in cheers of joy. Zoidberg shouted loudly “Mazel-Tov! Hoorayy!” Kif resumed speaking when the cheering subsided.

   “Because of our actions last month, and The Nimbus getting a more competent captain, I’m moving up the chain of command. I will be the new Executive Officer!”

(Planet Express Headquarters - 09/21/3008,  1100 NNY time)

   The weekly 9am presentation by Hermes every Wednesday, went by exceedingly long as usual. The employees lined up afterwards for coffee, to shake off their bureaucrat-induced sleepiness.

   Fry shouted from the lounge that Zapp Brannigan’s court-martial had moved on to the sentencing phase, and it was being televised live on The Judicial Channel.

   As the Planet Express crew watched, Cambots zig-zagged around the court room, giving everyone in front of a TV screen, a view of everything going on.

   Silence hovered in the lounge, as everyone waited for the verdict to be read.

   “What kinda punishment do ya think he’ll get?” said Fry.

   Dave turned to face him. “Whatever it is, I hope he doesn’t see freedom for the rest of his damned life!” He said bitterly, while he involuntarily rubbed one of the round scars on his back, through his work shirt.

   The TV was replaying the testimonial highlights. They watched as it showed Leela speaking about how Zapp kept pursuing her throughout the years. She described how he had ranted at her on Zuban-5, about how she would always belong to him, and how nothing, or nobody would ever keep him away from her.

   “Spluh-oh! Here come the waterworks!” Amy said, as she watched the screen, now showing Leela on the verge of tears.

   “He, , ,he just doesn’t stop! He won’t leave me alone, my ship always gets boarded for some stupid excuse, just to harass me, and my crew!”

   A lawyer’s voice off screen asked if she ever had to resort to physical violence to get rid of him,

   “That doesn’t work! Zapp’s such a degenerate, he derives pleasure from getting beaten by me. I was so relieved when Dave, , ,uh, I mean, Mr. Murphy, roughed him up. That was the only time I’ve seen him get the message through his thick skull about leaving me alone. I guess it didn’t last too long."

   After a brief commercial for Shiz Variable-flavor soft drink, they showed a highlight featuring Fry’s testimony. The defense attorney asked him to give his description of the battle to escape from New Robot Hell.

   “Well,,, it was like, all, KAPOW! BWOOOSH! KAPAAOWWWW! Lasers going everywhere! Really noisy and scary! Then I got shot in the leg. I told Dave n’ Leela to get out, not to worry about me, but he started pulling me over to some cover. Then I saw him get hit, as Leela dragged me out of the cave. I’d be dead if  wasn’t for my friends.”

   Leela cracked a smile as she watched the image of Fry on screen, wildly throwing his arms around. The Cambots began to show the MPs escorting the Judge into the court room. Everyone in the court room sat down again, as Judge Johnson began the final session.

   Turning to the jury, he spoke. “Mister Foreman, has the jury reached a decision?”

   A meek, balding man in his early 40s stood, and answered. “Yes, , ,yes we have, your honor.” With that, he cleared his throat, and opened a folded piece of paper.

   “On the charge of Dereliction of Duty, we find the Defendant, guilty!”

   “On the charge of Conduct Unbecoming, we find the Defendant, guilty!”

   “On the charge of Aiding The Enemy, we find the Defendant, not guilty!”

   A trio of red-colored space ships flew over the Planet Express building, at an extremely high rate of speed, and making a good amount of noise.

   Fry’s head was on a swivel as he tried to watch both the space ships, and the TV at the same time. “Hey,,, those ships look kinda familiar.”

   After the noisy vessels passed, the Judge’s voice could be heard coming from the TV again.

   “It is with great sadness, that I have to do what must be done. To uphold the laws, and regulations every service member of the DOOP, from the newest Private, up to the highest ranking officer, must abide by."

   “Mister Brannigan. You of all people are the one we all look up to. You are supposed to be a shining example of the positive things the DOOP stands for. A 25-star General is the pinnacle of leadership! Yet, when you unabashedly abuse your power, and make others suffer for your own, personal gain, then you, by all means, deserve the recommendations I hand down today!”

   “The Defendant will stand for sentencing!” The MP barked.

   Judge Johnson scribbled something on a electronic tablet, before facing the crowd again.

   “Zapp Brannigan, you are hereby dishonorably discharged from The Democratic Order Of Planets. You will be immediately remanded to the Adak Alaska Federal Penitentiary, to a term of no less than eighty years! Twenty for each guilty charge, to be served concurrently! The jury is excused, Court-Martial is hereby adjourned!” Judge Johnson said bitterly, as he slammed the gavel home, effectively ending Brannigan’s career.

(DOOP Central Command Complex - 09/21/3008,  1143 NNY time)

   Outside in the court yards, people stopped in their tracks, as they watched those same red spacecraft that overflew Planet Express now made a fast, low approach towards the DOOP complex, in a line-abreast formation.

   Back inside the court house, the electro-restraint hand cuffs had just been placed on Zapp Brannigan’s wrists, when the strange space vessels opened fire.

   The remaining people in the court room instantly dove for cover under tables, or fled the room. Staccato explosions from the ships’ plasma cannons rent the air, echoing down the hall, as dozens of DOOP sentries ran to the sound of battle.

   The two burly MPs shoved  Brannigan under the Judge’s bench, both arming themselves, looking for an escape route, and keeping an eye on their prisoner.
   The sounds of the battle outside subsided. Shouts, and sporadic phazer fire were getting louder in the hall. Whoever attacked the DOOP complex was now inside the court house, and they were getting closer by the minute.

   After a few minutes, all was silent. The two MPs stuck their heads up to see what was happening, when the huge oaken doors of the court room forced open, hard enough to rip them from their hinges!

   Sharp metallic clinking noises echoed across the room. One MP took another look, he was stunned to see seven demonic looking robots, all heavily armed with plasma, and EMP rifles, marching into the room.

   “GENERAL BRANNIGAN, WE ARE HERE TO SECURE YOUR RELEASE!” the lead robot screeched in a tinny voice.

   The DOOP guards stood up with Brannigan from behind the bench. Both had their phazer pistols at the ready.
   All seven of the robots charged their weapons simultaneously in response. The DOOP guards reluctantly lowered their weapons, as Zapp’s familiar sleazy smile returned to his face.

   The lead robot prostrated itself before Brannigan. “General, Our leader, The Robot Devil has sent us to free you!”

   Turning to the guards, “I’ll take those boys, and those cuff keys too!” Brannigan said, as the guards handed him their pistols, and key ring for the restraints on Zapp’s wrists.

   “Good work! I knew my clanky compadre wouldn’t leave me to rot in prison!” Zapp said, as he strolled towards the exit, flanked by the robot minions.

(Planet Express Headquarters - 09/21/3008, Ten minutes earlier)

   “YESSSSS!” shouted everybody in the TV lounge, as Zapp Brannigan’s fate was read by the Judge. Hugs, and high-fives were exchanged between Dave, Leela, and Fry. “What, no love for Zoidy?” said Zoidberg, followed immediately by someone throwing him a sandwich, which he caught, and devoured in mid-air.

   The Cambots cut away to Linda and Morbo, who were talking excitedly about something ominous happening at The DOOP Complex.

   Everyone in the lounge sat back down on the couch to watch, as cameras now picked up the images of those red painted space ships, laying down a gauntlet of laser fire, peppering the complex with explosions.

   The watched as one of the ships landed, and several red-colored robots battle their way inside the court house.

   “Hey, those bots look familiar! But where?” said Bender, as he stroked his imaginary chin.

   “Ohmygod! Those are the robots from Robot Hell!” exclaimed Leela, who shot up off the couch in shock, pointing at the TV. “I also recognized those ships. They were the ones parked next to the DOOP shuttlecraft on Zuban-5!”

   “Why would they attack the DOOP? Why today?” Fry asked.

   “THAT’S WHY, LOOK!” shouted Leela angrily, pointing again, as the Cambots showed the robot soldiers re-emerge from the court house, escorting Brannigan.
   Thick black smoke could be seen out of the large panoramic window in the TV lounge. The robot-commanded ships now made their escape. The Planet Express crew could only watch in disbelief, as those ships flew by again, with several DOOP interceptors in hot pursuit.

   Running out onto the balcony outside of The Professor’s quarters, they watched the battle in the skies overhead.

   The dogfight twisted and turned for only a few minutes, as the robots were trying desperately to escape to the safety of outer orbit. The DOOP interceptors managed to break up the formation, following one, as it flew up the East River.

   Two of the interceptors promptly dispatched it with a heavy burst of laser cannon fire, sending it spiraling down, thankfully into an unoccupied building.

   By the time the interceptors formed back up, they were too late. The robot ships had reached the safety of Earth’s upper atmosphere, and began their jump to hyper-speed.

   Back on Earth, Fry, Leela and Dave sat for the next few hours in front of the TV, waiting for updates on the daring mid-day attack, and liberation of Zapp Brannigan.

   The ship that was shot down didn’t contain any human remains, much to everyone’s dismay. A senior DOOP official was explaining on TV that Zapp was now Fugitive Enemy No 1. A large bounty had been placed for his capture, this time dead or alive!

   Leela stood up, and walked over to the window, as she stared out at the New New York sky twinkling in the chilly night air.

   “What’s going to happen now? That bastard’s out on the loose again!” she thought. Her despair lasting only long enough until she rubbed the small golden tag around her neck between her slender fingers.

   “He said he’d never let him hurt me again, , , ,I believe in him!” a slowly spreading smile indicated, as she looked over at Dave, giving Fry a detailed explanation of how to properly clean a pistol.

   “We’ll be just fine guys. Might be nice to get that bounty money too!” Leela said enthusiastically, as she closed the curtains.
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #27 on: 04-01-2009 20:31 »

                   Written By La Belle Leela

Chapter 14

(Planet Express Delivery Ship, near The Khas’ Hmir System - 12/15/3008, 1615 NNY time)

   “CRASH CRASH CRASH!” came the sound of kinetic energy projectiles, as they slammed into the hull of the big green delivery ship.

   “FRY, GET YOUR BUTT UP THERE TO THE GUN!” barked Leela, as she threw the ship into another violent maneuver, to evade another onslaught of Omicronian attack vessels.

   “Crud! Two more missile hits, and the shield is toast!” Leela thought, as she was using more, and more complex, dangerous maneuvers, stressing the ship’s hull, and causing her to wince involuntarily every time the ship’s airframe groaned, and rattled.

   A spark of genius flashed inside her mind, as she shouted for Bender, over her shoulder. “Bender, I need you to get outside the ship, straddle the dark matter engine, point your butt out and vent your exhaust gas!”

   “Can do! Just gotta fuel up first!” Bender said, as he gave a quick salute, began whistling, as he effortlessly ripped the top off of a full keg of Olde Fortran, and consumed it in seconds.

   Bender worked his way alongside the top of the ship, the keg of beer in his metal belly started rumbling. “Ohhh geez, not yet, not yet! Ohhh, if I had cheeks, I’d wish they would stay together!”

   Leela’s voice crackled on Bender’s com unit. “Bender, I’m transferring power from the shields to the Stabilization unit. If it’s not powered up when you vent, the speed will tear the ship apart! Don’t vent until I say so!”

   “Ohhh! Hurry hurry hurry!” Bender said, as he gripped the grab handles on the fuselage above the glowing dark matter engine, screaming at 100% power.

   “Fry, retract the cannon! We need to get the hull as clean as possible for maximum escape speed!”

   Fry pulled the black stowage lever, swinging the laser cannon’s barrel automatically forward, and down into its trough. The cover sliding closed with a loud “thunk”.

   “Ready, HIT IT!” he yelled, as he slid back down the ladder, and joined Leela on the flight deck.

   “Hold on to something Fry. Strap in if you can, because we’re gonna fly!”

   “But we are flying.” Fry remarked.

   “*sigh* You know what I meant dingus!" Leela thought to herself, as she reached for the ship’s microphone.


   “Heh, heh, just like at Fry’s recital!” Bender laughed to himself, as he closed his eyes, & grunted

   “NNNGHHH!” As a bluish-white exhaust plume three times the size of the Planet Express ship’s engine plume ignited from Bender’s rear end.

(Somewhere over the Eastern Seaboard, 12/15/3008 - 1625 hours NNY time)

   While the furious battle with the Omicronians unfolded, back on Earth, Dave was headed south in his Hover-truck. Glancing at the instrument cluster on the dash, he noted his heading, speed, and altitude. “515 knots, 22,000 feet, heading 212.” Taking a quick look at the moving map display in the center of the dash console, “Should be coming up on Savannah, GA in a few minutes.” then resuming his look outside, periodically checking for other traffic, as he began a wide turn, skirting a rather large cumulonimbus’s anvil-shaped top.

   The skies weren’t quite like Dave remembered. Back in the 20th, Air Traffic Control would have been watching him on radar, and he would have had to follow an exact flight path, for his present speed & altitude. Now, in the 31st century, the skies were much like the interstate highways were in his time.

   He remarked about that, as a noisy pack of Hover-bikers passed him on the left. Dave glanced down to fiddle with his iPod, when a bright glare in his rearview mirror caught his attention. Something very fast was coming up from behind. “Probably the cops, or something” he thought, as he went back to selecting his next play list.

   The fast moving craft passed over Dave’s truck at such a rate of speed, it nearly caused him to lose control, as it’s wake turbulence buffeted the big Dodge. Dave’s jaw dropped when he identified the craft, as it made a sharp, descending turn to his left. “It can’t be!” He did a double take, as he continued to watch the unmistakable profile of the A-4 Skyhawk as it dropped into the clouds.

   Dave could see from it’s side profile it had been heavily modified. The wings and empennage had a completely different shape to them, extra structural strength, no doubt. It’s tailcone emitted a bright blue exhaust plume, no doubt that it had something far more powerful than it’s original Pratt & Whitney J52-P-408 turbine engine.

   He almost wanted to follow the A-4, see where it was going, but he had somewhere to be, and the sinking sun showed him it was getting late.

   Forty five short minutes later, Dave banked the big Hover-truck to the right, as he began descending towards a small island off the southwest coast of Florida.

   The sky had taken on a glorious color in the early winter sky. Behind Dave, it’s was still a rich blue, but ahead, into the setting sun, the sky was set aflame by the setting sun. The scattered cloud layers took on a pinkish color, as he quickly lost altitude.

   The place he had moved to with his family in the early 1990s, where he’d been the happiest, now sadly, Dave was returning to Marco Island, on the 5th anniversary of his father’s passing, to pay tribute. After fighting pancreatic cancer for over two years, “Meathook” Murphy, as he was known in the Naval aviation community, lost his battle shortly before Christmas 2003.

   He thought back to that day, as he sat on the sand, watching the sun sink lower beneath the horizon. The first evening stars were starting to peek out, and he thought about his friends for a second. This place had been the setting for so many good moments Dave and his father had shared. He stood up, began walking towards to pounding surf, pausing only to unwrap a single red rose from it’s paper folder.

   Dave waded out, until the water went about knee-deep. He took another look upwards towards the darkening sky, as he lowered his hand, and released the flower into the water. Rubbing the old, tarnished metal dog-tag from his pocket between his fingers, Dave closed his eyes, his lips moving in silent prayer.

   When he finished, he raised his head skyward again, at the same moment, a brilliant shooting star lit up, as it crossed the sky from east to west. Dave couldn’t help but feel moved, like as if his dad heard what he’d just said. The sight of the star made him feel better, like his old man was up there, still looking out for him.

   Dave sat on the beach long after the sun had set. His mind was swimming in thought, as he tried to think of all the people he had known down here. Marco Island hadn’t changed much, it was still a tourist spot, and Dave was amazed it was even still here after 1,000 years of beach erosion, and hurricanes. He rested his head on his forearms, and stared out to sea at the glowing western sky, and thought about one of the good things in his life, Leela.

   “I wish she was here with me now. She’d love to see this.” Dave thought.

   Walking back to the parking lot, a large sign caught his eye. “THE 414th MARCO ISLAND BEACH SAND REPLENTISHMENT PROJECT MADE POSSIBLE BY: Bank of Florida’s repossession of ¼th of The Gobi Desert!”

   “Hmmm, makes sense.” Dave thought as he passed the sign. Glancing down at his wrist computer, and noticing it was just after 9pm, he thought “Wonder what the others are up to back in New New York?” He fired up the Hover-truck‘s power cells, selected “The Beautiful Guitar” play list on his iPod, and settled in for the hour and a half trip back up north.

(Planet Express Headquarters, 12/16/3008 - Just after Midnight NNY time)

   Glowing blue light from the TV flickered across the walls of the lounge. Since his home across the street was without one, Dave would often hang out after hours to watch the one in the main building. Shortly after midnight, the screeching from the hangar roof doors woke him. He’d fallen asleep after watching the news, and what seemed to him as the weirdest, all-robot sports show he’d ever seen.

   The roar of the Planet Express ship’s engines as it landed briefly drowned out the sound of the announcer-bot. Dave picked up the remote, switched it off, yawned, and walked out to the hangar bay to say hello, and goodnight to everyone.

   The sound inside the ship’s flight deck slowly faded, as the individual systems powered down. Leela enjoyed a few minutes of silence the cabin had to offer after a mission such as the one they had just flown. She sighed heavily, then groaned as she felt soreness ripple up her back and across her shoulders.

   Turning off the last few electrical junction boxes, the ship’s interior went dark. Leela’s back ached even more, as she walked down the stairway to do her routine post-flight walk-around.

   Dave was stopped in his tracks by what he saw on the other side of the door. The ship was extensively damaged. Jagged holes pockmarked the underside of the fuselage, a whole section of the port side fin had lost it’s leading edge fairing, and plasma burn marks covered the rest of the ship from nose to tail

   As Dave continued his visual inspection of the battered ship, Leela’s voice could be heard, as she descended the ship’s stairs. “All I’m saying Fry is try to be more careful with open containers around other people’s furniture! Those Omicronians nearly smoked us after you dropped that full can of Slurm on their brand new couch!”

   “Yeahhh, okay, sure Leela.” Fry said monotonously, as he shrugged her off and headed for the locker room.

   She began to take in the full scope of all the damage to the ship, as she did her walk-around. “Crud, it’ll take a month to repair all this-Hey you!” Leela chirped, as she saw Dave inspecting what appeared to be the rear half of a dud missile, the business end of it still buried deep in the hull.

   “Glad you guys made it back in one piece. Well,,, so to speak.” Dave replied, as they walked towards the locker room. “Yeah” Leela said, as she winced from a muscle spasm. “Oh, neck is killing me! Must have pulled something while wrestling the ship’s control yoke around.”  she said, as she rubbed the base of her neck with her left hand. “Would you mind?” Leela said, as she motioned to the bench in front of the lockers. “Not at all” he replied.

   “See ya guys!” Fry said, as he bolted for the door. “Huh, he seemed excited to be going somewhere.” Dave said, as he massaged Leela’s shoulders, “Hmmm, that’s nice, ooh! A little too hard there.” she whispered. “So what happened to you guys? The ship looks like hell.” he asked. “Yeah, The Professor’s not gonna be happy in the morning, I can tell you that!” Leela replied.

   Leela was temporarily lost in thought. Her eye closed, and uttering the occasional groan, as she was clearly enjoying the back rub. “Ohhh, that, well, Fry managed to drop a full can of Slurm on that huge leather couch we were delivering to Omicron-Persei 8, and being the aggressive, warlike, short-tempered creatures that they are, they attacked us all the way to the moon of Titan-ooooh, right there, don’t stop!”

   “Maybe you should ice that shoulder a little bit when you get home. Might make the swelling go away.” Dave suggested. “Maybe you could ice it for me. While we watch a little TV.” she said, with a sly grin. “Leeeeeela, are you asking me to do what I think you‘re asking me to do?” Dave said in an equally silly manner as she had done. “C’mon, lets get outta here.” Leela said with an eager grin, as she stood up, and put her winter coat on. “Might wanna bring your Harvey jacket, it’s pretty cold outside.” she said, as the sound of a zipper came from around the corner. “Wayyyy ahead of ya.” Dave said, as he adjusted the silver & black fire-suit style jacket.

   “Oh, and it’s Harvick, not Harvey, by the way.”

   Snow flurries were falling, as Dave & Leela stepped outside into the frigid night air. The X-mas lights of the city were becoming more numerous, as were the heavy armor plates on several building fronts. The lights from downtown cast an eerie orange glow against the low cloud ceiling, as the bitter December wind whipped down the canyon-like street. Stores on the corner featured huge ads for low-low holiday prices on defensive weaponry for the coming destruction Santa-bot was surely bringing.

   The two of them walked arm in arm across the street to the storage warehouse, where Dave’s hover-truck was waiting. That familiar, alluring scent of Leela’s hair filled his nostrils. He didn’t care if it was natural, if it was perfume or shampoo, all it did was make him want to pull her closer.

   In the darkened alley, nearby, someone was watching. Slowly, wispy lines of white light began spiraling in the dark. As they got brighter, they revealed a young woman’s face, but as she slowly crept along the alley to keep watch on the two, light from a streetlamp made her face change from flesh to smoldering embers. Sensing she’d been noticed, she disappeared into the shadows from which she came.

   Dave stopped for a moment, slowly looking to his right. “What, you see somebody?” Leela asked.

   “Nah, it’s nothing, probably Zoidberg again.” he said, as they continued walking.

   They climbed into the vehicle, Dave fired the power cells, and immediately turned the heater on. “Heh, I hardly ever used that thing! Now I’m actually glad they put the heater in!” he said, as he rubbed his hands after touching the ice cold steering wheel.

   Moving through the boroughs of New New York in the late night darkness, Dave’s mind stuck on how quiet it was. The two of them didn’t talk much, just the idle swish of the wiper blades every few seconds, as the hover-truck drove on through the swirling snow squall.

   “Wuhhohh! It is nasty out there!” Leela said, as she shook off the lingering snowflakes from her long, beautiful ponytail. The small ninth-floor apartment felt warm and inviting. Leela handed her coat to Dave. “Could you put this on the rack with yours? I’ll just be a sec.” she said, as she disappeared into the back bedroom.

   The row of ceiling-mounted track lights in the living room highlighted a rather large painting. Dave studied it closer, as he’d seen it a few times before, but never looked at it up close. Three human figures, two female, one male, all in a tight, group hug. The two female subjects had what looked like purplish wispy clouds for hair, while the male subject was surprisingly void of hair. Against a dark background, a single light from the overhead track was illuminating the subjects, but not the whole painting.

   “It’s supposed to be the moonlight shining through a storm drain grate.” came Leela’s voice behind Dave. He studied the painting further, noticing the artist’s signature in the lower right corner. Looking closer, it dawned on him, it was Leela’s signature!

   “Then you, you painted this?” He asked with a smile.

   “Yeah, it’s the night my parents and I reunited! I was so happy, I just had to put that moment in my life down on canvas.”

   Dave felt a little twinge of sadness, as he stared down at the thick carpeted floor. He’d left his Mother and two Brothers over a thousand years back, and never said goodbye to them.

   “You’re really lucky Leela.” Dave spoke softly, as he looked back up at the painting, then back at her. “Your parents are really something special. I think nothing in this world matters more than family.” he said, as his eyes turned a little glassy. “I’m glad you got a second chance with them.“ Leela placed a hand on his right shoulder. “Awwww, you‘re too much.” she whispered back dreamily.

   “Here, sit down”, as she gestured towards the sofa.

   Leela sat beside him “You okay?” as she rubbed his shoulder some more, and flipped on Late Night with Humorbot 5.0.  She pulled a small throw blanket over them, as they relaxed further into the corner of the sofa.

   “Yeah, I’ll be okay. I mean, I’m here with you, and there’s no place else I’d rather be.” Dave said, as he let Leela put her arm all the way across his shoulders, and pull him in closer.

   After the show had ended, Leela flipped off the TV. She didn’t get up, but as soon as Dave shifted to stand, she held onto his arm. “wait”

   “What’s up?” he answered in a low tone.

   The orange glow from the city lights filtered into the dark living room, with just enough ambient light to see each other’s faces. Leela sat up closer to Dave, the light shining off of her eye, which was staring straight into his.

   “Stay here with me tonight, Please.” as she gently leaned in close, and softly placed a kiss on his face.

   “Leela, , , I don’t think I can do this. Not now.” he said, sounding rather upset.

   “Do what?” she responded quizzically

   “Look, I know okay. I knew this moment would eventually happen between us, and, well, , , to be completely honest, I think you and I have something really special, and by doing what I think you wanted the two of us to do here tonight would kinda be a setback.” Dave said, with his voice shaking a little bit at the end.

   Leela looked confused “A setback? I still don’t know what you’re saying.”

   “I want you to know that I really have serious feelings about you Leela. Just thinking about you drives me crazy, and if we were to, you know, “do it” for lack of a better term, I just think it would give you a reason to really hate me if things didn’t work out between you and I later on.”

   She said nothing, but looked away, and waited to hear him finish as he paused.

   “I don’t ever want to hurt you, I‘d never forgive myself! Seriously, I really care about you, I lov-” His sentence was cut short, as Leela placed a fingertip to his lips.

   What happened next took him completely by surprise. Dave hadn’t been kissed with such passion in a long, long time.

   “I understand, and I’m okay with it.” she said in a low voice, even though she had felt slightly disappointed.


   “Yeah. Now I know that you’re truly a wonderful guy! You’ve always been honest with me, you’ve always stood up for me, and I love it that you told me you didn’t feel right, that takes a really strong conscience!”  Even in the semi-darkness, Dave could see her smiling wider than ever.

   “Still, I’d love it if you stayed with me tonight. There’s no deliveries tomorrow, and in the morning, I want to hear about this “A-4” you saw.” She said, as she stood up, extending her left arm for him to follow.

   “Thanks, of course I’ll stay” he answered sleepily, as she led him out of the living room.

   Morning announced itself early, as a clear blue sky shining in through the slats of the window blinds. Dave awoke, feeling very warm and content lying in bed, when he suddenly realized that the window was on the wrong side of the bed! He slowly turned his head, seeing a mass of purple next to him. “Nooo, It can‘t be! We didn‘t! Did we?” The events of last night slowly returned, as he came to his senses. Dave flipped the thick, pillowy duvet back, and saw that they were both still fully clothed. Relieved, he laid back against the pillow, looking over at Leela, as she too began to stir.

   Leela snuggled closer to his left arm, burying her face into his shoulder, as she inhaled deeply and let out a soft “mmmmm”. Smiling slightly, he returned the gesture. He took in several deep breaths of her hair, pausing to gently kiss her forehead, and watch the little dots of sunlight shine in on her still closed eyelid, until he drifted back to sleep.


   They slept for a while longer, when Leela finally shifted, raised her head and yawned. With a little smile, she reached over, playfully grabbed Dave’s left knee, shaking it a little. “C’mon sleepyhead, coffee will be on shortly.” as he yawned & stretched. “Ohh yeah!” as he felt several vertebrae in his back align with crackling sound.

   Leela reached back across he bed, leaning down as they kissed each other. “Mornin’ Leela! You sleep okay?”

   “Much better, you?”

   “I slept like everything was perfect, like nothing bad in the world could hurt me.”

   “Okayyy, enough with you waxing all philosophical! I’m making coffee. How do you take it?” She said over her shoulder, as she exited the bedroom.

   “Light n’ sweet, , , just like you!” Dave said, wearing a huge grin, which abruptly drooped when he saw the old, tattered robe she had pulled on. “She deserves a nicer one. It doesn’t look exactly warm either.” he thought to himself.

   “*sigh* you, always with the clever one-liners. C’mon, I wanna hear about that spacecraft you saw yesterday.” Leela said, as she flipped the kitchen light on.

(this one's kinda long, so I had to post it in 2 parts)
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #28 on: 04-01-2009 20:55 »

After nearly an hour of talk over coffee, Leela was interrupted by her wrist computer device beeping, then the speaker crackling to life.

   “Hey Leela, it’s Amy. Just wanna remind you about the DOOP Xmas party next Saturday Kif invited us all to.”

   “Uhh, no! Of course not Amy, I didn’t forget.” as she leaned over to Dave whispering behind her hand “Actually, I did forget!”

   Dave smiled and nodded, understanding the humor of the situation. “You n’ Dave are gonna be there right?”

   “Of course we are Amy! Been looking forward to it all week!” Leela said, stifling a giggle.

   Before Amy could finish, Leela cut her short “Uhh, Amy, I gotta go, I think the fridge is on fire!” as she cut her computer device off, ending the awkward conversation.

   “So, you were saying?” Leela said, as she turned back to face Dave.

(DOOP Central Command Headquarters, 12/24/3008 - 2030 hours NNY time)

   The annual X-mas party held at DOOP’s HQ was always a grand affair. Officers and the Non-Commissioned Officers wore pristine-looking formal uniforms. Their spouses, or dates attending the party similarly in gorgeous evening gowns.  The entire main office hall was redecorated in festive gold, green & red garlands. Boughs of freshly cut, genetically-engineered, laboratory-grown pine tree branches & wreaths also festooned the walls.

   The curbside valet opened the front passenger-side door of Dave’s hover-truck, as it pulled to a stop in front of the facility. “Good evening Miss, please watch your step.” said the valet, as Leela stepped out of the truck. Her eye fell upon the large illuminated fountain in the center of the courtyard. “This looks nice. It’ll be even nicer knowing Zapp’s not here to ruin the evening!” She thought to herself, as she turned around to see where Dave was.

   He was quickly pocketing the claim stub from the valet inside his coat. The night air was well below freezing, but it didn’t seem to make anyone rush into the building. Several couples enjoyed the walk along the main pathway, up past the giant fountain.

   “Hey! There’s Fry!” Leela said, as they neared the entrance to the hall.

   “Whattup guys!” he said, after straightening his tie, and running a hand through his hair.

   “Hey Fry, You just get here too?”

   “Yeah, Jeannie said she’d be meeting me here shortly. You really look great tonight Leela!”

   She blushed a little as she turned away.

   “Thanks Fry, I saved it just for the right date!” Leela said, as she slowly turned around to show off the elegant evening gown. Similar in design to her burgundy “opera dress”, this one was jet black, accented with gold stripes that ran vertically up both sides, under her arms, then continuing out into finer gold lines that weaved a beautiful interlaced pattern over the shoulder, and then the front, and back of the dress. Leela has also replaced her standard elastic ponytail band, for a gold metal braided one. A pair of black formal gloves completed her stunning outfit.

   A staccato sound of high-heel shoes came from behind where they were talking. A slightly disheveled looking Jeannie Sims rushed over to Fry.

   “Hiii Fry! Sorry about this, but you know the Legal Bureaucrats, always want something done at the last minute!” she said, with a slightly crazy-sounding giggle at the end.

   “You feeling okay babe?” Fry asked, sounding genuinely concerned.

   “Ohhh ya! I’m okay, just a little overworked hehe! I mean A LOT overworked! Ya know!”

   Still looking at her with concern, Fry suggested they go inside, get a couple of drinks.

   “Okay, well, have fun you two!” Fry said to Dave and Leela, as he led Jeannie inside to the festivities.

   Inside, the party was in full swing. The DOOP had hired a local band, which belted out popular music of the current era, as well, as old favorites, mixing in various Xmas music in between.

   “I need to go adjust my contact lens, be right back.” Leela whispered in Dave’s ear, as she left for the far side of the hall.

   Social settings like this were still a rarity for Leela. Even in the past eight years at Planet Express, she’d only gone out to formal events like this a few times. Her secret that she wasn’t an alien was still only known to Fry, and a few other close friends, but it still made her feel a little insecure at times.

   Leela felt strange as she walked to the ladies room. She felt like she suddenly became the center of unwanted attention. Strange glances caught her attention, as she walked, trying to ignore them. “Idiots! They see I’ve got one huge eye, why do they always stare!” she thought angrily to herself. After finishing, she thought about ducking out of the door beside the restrooms, and re-enter the doors near the bar area. The fewer stares, the better, she thought.

   Back at the party, Dave waited at the bar for drinks, and casually conversed with several DOOP officers who, once they knew who he was, wanted to congratulate him for helping get Brannigan removed from command. During this time, he managed to overhear a few other officers and their dates near the wall behind him, make a few comments that were rather uncalled for.

   “Hmph! Did you see the one-eye Charles? I mean, who’d she have to sheet wrestle with to get in here?”

   “Ahh ha ha haaa! Good one Amanda. I don’t know, but it must have been someone who had to go slumming for good time!”

   Dave knew who they were talking about. The last comment was harsh enough to prevent the first sip of bourbon from touching his lips. “Excuse me guys” he said to the two officers next to him at the bar, as he set his glass down.

   Formal party or not, Dave wasn’t about to stand by idly. He laid a few bills on the bar for his drinks. “Your money’s no good here man. Those are on us!” the two officers said, as he re-pocketed the currency. Grabbing one shot glass, Dave raised it slightly, “Thanks, here’s to ya!” he said, as he finished it off, slamming the shot glass back on the bar, rim down. “I gotta go take care of something, watch my seat.” Dave said, as he left the bar.

   Looking around as he walked, Dave saw Neptunians, Emissaries from Nylar-4, a few Omicronians, and of course, Dr Zoidberg at the far side of the room, inhaling a bucket of something.

   The louder member of the group, who’d said what grabbed Dave’s attention earlier, stood about six inches taller than Dave, with blond hair & blue eyes, was continuing his rude comments about Leela, when Dave approached, tapping the man’s shoulder.

   “Hey, I couldn’t help but overhear what you guys were saying about the woman with one eye, but I’d like to tell ya, I brought her with me tonight! Now that I‘m here, you got anything else to say about her?”

   The officer’s dates recoiled in disgust when Dave said this.
   “Tell me something, was she the first “thing” you saw when you got out of the tube?” one of the young women said, with an acid tone.

   “I’m not a de-frostee.” Dave said bitterly.

   “Riiiiiight”  she answered, staring away.

   The tall blond-haired one, stared at Dave for a minute before he spoke.

   “So, you’re the one who got Zapp dishonorably discharged eh? Most of us here had the unique pleasure of serving with him. He was quite possible the finest line officer in command. You and that “one-eye” have a lot of nerve coming here tonight, and now you think you can take us on? Because we don’t think that freak of yours, as well as yourself, don’t belong here tonight?” he said, with a smirk on his face.

   Dave felt the hair on his neck begin to rise. “Actually, if you’d like to be a man, and say anything else about her, you can say to me outside! Not here with your pals, but out on the sidewalk, because that’s where the paramedics will find you!” he said, feeling rage course through the muscles in his arms.

   The officers didn’t appear fazed at all by Dave’s words.

   “Typical Stupid-Ages mentality Mandy! That’s how they solved all of their problems back then.”

   Realizing he was in a huge public place, Dave simply defused the immediate situation.

   “I’ll tell you what, , ,”Charles” is it? I’ll be out there.” Dave said, pointing to the walkway that led to the street. “When you grow a pair, and want to tell me more, that’s where I’ll be. The same goes for you two as well!” he said, casting a menacing glare at the other two officers.

   “And you can count on me being out there too, jerk wads!”

   The two shorter officers bristled when they heard Leela’s voice from behind.

   “You cowards got something more to say? Let’s do this outside, right now!” Leela growled, as she got right up in the blonde-haired officer’s face.

   The two shorter officers clumsily bumped into one another, as they blurted out an excuse to be somewhere else, as they bolted for the door.

   “Charles! I’m cold! Let’s go already!” said the blonde-haired officer’s date, as she kept staring in disgust at Dave & Leela.

   “Hmph! See you later Stupid-ages, , , you too One-eye! For your sake, both of you better steer clear of my ship. “Accidents” can sometimes happen during missile drills!” he said menacingly, as he escorted his date from the room.
   “Forget that idiot Leela. Zapp’s got plenty of jerks still in his corner, I’m not letting them ruin our night!”

   “Yeah, you’re right. Time for a drink or two, or seven!” Leela said, sounding much calmer.

   Fry and Jeannie were seated at the far corner of the bar area. Several flaming shots were on the small table they were sharing. Leela noticed it was weird that Fry blew the flames out before consuming his shot, but Jeannie would toss back the flaming liquid, not even so much as blinking while swallowing.

   “Dave, watch this.” Leela said, drawing his attention to Jeannie, as she drank another flaming shot.

   Watching her idly toss back yet another shot, “Damn!” he thought. “I’ve never seen, or heard of any human being able to do that. At least, not with the throat that God gave them.” Dave said in amazement, as she drank two flaming shots back to back. Fry barely managed to drink three, sans-flames.

   The two officers who bought drinks earlier waved Dave and Leela back over to their side of the bar. From what one of them said, “Charles”, better known as LtCdr Charles X. Farrington III. He was a subordinate of Brannigan, serving with him many times, and not ashamed to admit that he worshipped the ground Zapp walked on.

   The two officers, both looking in their late-40s, and wearing numerous awards and campaign ribbons on their white & gold uniforms, identified themselves as Captains, expressed to the two of them their gratitude for finally bringing down one of the most corrupt, and inept commanders in recent history. They both shook hands, and saying thanks once more to Dave & Leela before leaving

   “Well, I’m drinking bourbon tonight. What’ll you have Leela?”  Dave asked, as he waved at the bartender.

   “Bourbon sounds nice.” as she gazed at the holiday decorations festooning the walls.

   The two of them sat quietly, enjoying each other’s company as usual, when the band that was hired began their set for the evening with a 1990s slow-dance classic. “I‘m gonna turn the mic over to my sister Denise for this one. This is for all you lovebirds out there tonight!” the lead singer said, as he rolled into the first song of the evening.

   Dave stood up from the table. He knew what would turn the evening around for the better. “Wanna dance?” She smiled, as she took his hand.

   “I thought you didn’t like Flaming Amazons woogums.” Fry said to Jeannie, as they passed their table on the way to the middle of the hall.

   Leela couldn’t get rid of the nagging feeling she had about Lt. Sims. The young officer’s behavior seemed to take a complete reversal in the last few months.

   The soft pop music from the band played, as the lights dimmed low. In all of the events that took place over the last few months, Dave forgot all about what it was like to be with family, or friends during the holiday. His two previous years in the 21st century found him all alone at Christmas. Two brothers at opposite ends of the continent that wouldn’t speak to him, and a mother who lived and worked on the other side of the world.

   “She might as well have worked on the other side of the galaxy.” Dave replied in Leela’s ear, as they swayed & held on to each other during the song, letting the words of the chorus sink in. “I know you love and miss them, sorry Dave.” she whispered back gently.

   “Thanks”  was all he could muster in his mind, but he just embraced her a little tighter, to show his appreciation.
   After the festivities died down, and the blazing assault on the city by Robot Santa had ended, partygoers both drunk and sober mobbed the rubble-strewn sidewalk for taxis. Passing his jacket to Leela, as he knew she had to be cold in the biting wind. Saying nothing, she let him place it over her shoulders, as the valet pulled up with his hover-truck.

   “I’m terribly sorry sir! Your vehicle seems to have taken some damage in the attack.” Dave winced as he saw what looked like a giant shotgun blast that shattered the right headlight cluster & left the quarter panel peppered with small holes.

   “I’m sure The Professor’s got something to fix it. Nothing I can do about it now.” No sooner that those words left his lips, did Leela’s wrist computer beep, as an incoming call waited to be answered.

   “Hey Leela! it’s Fry. We’re having a little get-together back here at the office. Why don’t you two swing by.”

   Smiling sweetly, she answered “That’d be great Fry! See you in a bit.”

(Planet Express Headquarters, 12/24/3008 - 2300 hours NNY time)

   Amy and Dr Zoidberg had just finished putting the finishing touches on the Xmas decorations. A slightly-singed palm tree stood in the corner by a window missing a few of it’s panes. “Euugh, not to worry!” said Farnsworth, as he stood atop a ladder with a spray can of “Insta-Glass”.  “There we are! WHOOP!” as he fell from the ladder.

   “Ohhh, I’ll be okay, that shin always breaks about this time of year anyway!” as he limped back to his Rocket-Recliner.

   By now, everyone else was seated on two large couches facing one another. A roaring fire was going in the fireplace, burning whatever Robot Santa had dumped down the chimney earlier that evening. Fry whispered something in Dave’s ear, which caused both of them to bolt from the room, out to his hover-truck. As was customary, The Planet Express employees had a small party, and exchanged gifts on Xmas eve.

   A few minutes later Fry and Dave returned, both of them with several packages in their arms. “Okayyy, gather ‘round you guys!” Fry yelled. “You too Zoidberg!” as the Doctor gorged himself at the food table. “Vaaat? Me, join the others? Hooraaayyy!” as he clicked his claws happily.

   “Ohhh, Fry, you shouldn’t have! Such a fine cologne this doe urine is!” Zoidberg said, as he held the small plastic camouflaged bottle up, deeply inhaling from it, and exhaling in ecstasy.

   “Uhhhh, here ya go Fry, heh heh, enjoy!” said Bender as he slid a heavy burlap bag across the floor to where Fry was sitting. “Benderrrr, you gave back all the stuff you stole from me this year! Thanks!”

   “Awwww, no problem organ sack! Merry Xmas!” he said with a chuckle, as Dave passed a heavy brown paper wrapped item to Bender.

   “What’s this? *gasp*! It’s a suitcase of Arrogant Robot Bastard Ale! ‘Dat’s like the hardest beer to find! Ohhh, my emotional simulator’s goin’ nuts!” Bender said, sounding a little weepy, as he chugged down two bottles in each hand. “Ohhhh, I love ya buddy!” as he bear-hugged Dave hard enough to almost crack a rib!

   Amy, Hermes, and The Professor each exchanged their gifts next. Dave received a beautiful solid gold 8x10 picture frame from Amy. Inside the frame was the picture Dave’s camera took of him and Leela on their first date. “Leela showed me the picture, I just had to do something like, super-special with it.” she said, smiling as her eyes lit up in reflection from the fireplace.

   “Everyone finished?” said Leela, as she sat down after getting another glass of brandy. “Not quite” said Dave. “I saved the best one for last.” He stood up and took the box he was hiding next to his seat on the couch. “This is for you Leela. I hope you like it.” he said, as he sat down beside her.

   “*gasp* you got me a present?” she said, nearly spilling her drink in surprise. She hadn’t quite gotten used to getting gifts yet. Growing up at the Orphanarium, she was lucky if Xmas brought her extra socks, or hygiene products.

   She tore off the wrapping paper excitedly, but gently lifted the top of the long rectangular box underneath. Placing a hand to her mouth as she gasped again. Her eye welled up, and a single tear rolled off her nose, as she ran her other hand over the fine silk & terry cloth robe inside. “Oh, oh my, it’s so beautiful!” she said, immediately standing up to unfurl it from the box. “Here, try it on.” said Dave, as he opened it up, and let her slide it on. Leela was speechless, she wrapped herself in the folds of the long white robe, with it’s pink silk trim, as she did slow pirouettes in the warm glow of the fire’s light.

   “Ohhh, it’s so soft!”

   She quickly skipped back towards Dave, hugging him even harder than Bender did! “Oww!” he said, but laughing a little bit as she let go. “I guess that means you like it.” Leela only re-embraced him, “Ohh, thank you, thank you, thank you, I love it!” she whispered in his ear. They briefly separated, then she moved in to give him a kiss, when he stopped her.

   “Hang on, that was only part one. Turn around.” Leela looked perplexed, but did as he asked. From out of his coat, he pulled out a small length of fine gold herringbone chain. “Close your eye” he said, as he unclasped the chain, placing it around her neck, and securing it again.

   “Okay, eye open!” Leela gasped even louder this time. Her eye widened at the sight of the beautiful gold chain, and the small, heart-shaped locket lying against her chest. “Dave, you shouldn’t have,” she said, wiping away another tear. “I know, but this one’s very special, watch.” Dave stood in front of Leela, and whistled three distinct notes, causing the locket to open up, and chime the same three notes. Looking inside the locket, she saw her picture on one side, and Dave’s on the other. “I figured this would be a lot nicer to wear, and you could put the gold dog-tag on your keychain for the ship.”

   Leela was overjoyed again. She embraced Dave again, kissing him just as passionately as she did a couple of weeks ago. “Hoorayyyy, she likes it!” shouted Dr Zoidberg.

   “Spleeesh! Get a room you two!” Amy shouted, jokingly of course.

   “Eughh-yes! Merry Xmas everyone! Merry Xmas! Enjoy your Xmas Day off, because you’ve still got a ship to repair! Huhwheeee! Uhhh, byeeee.” said Farnsworth, as he puttered from the room in his Rocket-Recliner.

   “C’mon meatbag, let’s go get drunk!” Bender said, as he elbowed Fry. “See ya later everyone!” said Fry, as he left with Bender.

   The others slowly left Planet Express, until only Dave, Leela, and Dr Zoidberg remained seated at the fireplace.

   “Hey, what smells so good?” Dave said.

   “Ohh nooo, that’s meee!” screamed Zoidberg as he ran for the saltwater tank in his office.

   “Well, I guess that just leaves us. So, your place, or mine tonight?”  Leela said, in a slightly tipsy voice.

   “I do believe the brandy would hinder our driving abilities. My place sounds good.” he replied, with little burp “Ooops, hung start! Hah!”

   “Good idea, and you can open my present in the morning. How’s that sound?” she said dreamily, as they left the office arm in arm, into the darkened street, and a light snow falling on them.

   “Leela, you didn’t have to get me anything. Just being here with you is far greater than anything money can buy!”
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #29 on: 04-06-2009 19:06 »

Here's the latest installment.

                             STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND
                                Written By: La Belle Leela

Chapter 15

(Planet Express Headquarters, 12/26/3008 - 1930 NNY time)

   “Now hold still Fry! This won’t take long. I’ll have that broken leg removed, so the new one can grow back in.” said Dr Zoidberg calmly, as he prepped his laser-saw. Fry’s eyes grew wide in fear, as he laid on Zoidberg’s exam table in the doctor’s office. “*gulp!* You sure you know what you’re doing Zoidberg? It’s a broken leg! If you cut it off, it won’t grow back you idiot!” Calmly holding the glowing surgical instrument, Zoidberg answered monotonously. “Fry, please, it’s a simple procedure, I promise you won’t die- well, maybe a little bit, I honestly won’t know until I’ve finished. Now hold still dammit!”

   “Mommieeee” came a small whimper from the office, as Zoidberg fired up his Flesh-O-Fusion device, followed by a sickening sound of something fleshy and heavy falling onto the floor.

   It was early winter, and the Planet Express employees had just returned from a relaxing weekend of skiing in the picturesque Rocky Mountains. Fry had endured the 20-minute flight back to New New York in agony, as he suffered a horrible fall on a triple-black diamond trail. Fry still had an intense impulsiveness with Bender’s dares for him to impress Leela. Whether drunk, or sober, though wishing he’d been drinking, so alcohol could be mostly to blame.

   “Be brave Meatbag, we’re pullin’ for ya!” Bender yelled mundanely, as he stared straight into the TV set that blared out the droning noise of The Hypnotoad. 

   “What? What’d I do?” said Bender, as Amy, and Leela stared daggers in his direction.

   The tense atmosphere was broken by Hermes grunting, as he carried a huge wooden box into the lounge.
“Git off ya lazy butts people! Package delivery tiiime!”

   “Where’s it goin’?” Amy shouted, as she put the cap back on the small bottle of chrome yellow nail polish.

   “Environmental Research Station 120-C on Planet X. Shouldn’t take more ‘den a few ‘ours.” Hermes said, as he handed the waybill information packet to Leela.

   “Oh lord, trade one icy cold location for another! Fryyyyy, we’ve got a delivery, you done in there yet?” she yelled.

   “Uhhh, not quite. I still don’t think Zoidberg’s quite got the hang of -OWW! surgery on the human anatomy yet.” Fry said, as he hobbled out of the exam room, his leg mended, but bending grotesquely backwards.

   “Forget it Fry. You stay here, get some rest, and let Zoidberg put your leg back on the right way. We’re just going on a milk-run to Planet X. One of those research station thingamabobs.”

   Fry sighed glumly. Even on simple delivery runs, he hated missing out on trips going into space. “Okay Leela. You guys be safe.”

   “Relaaax Fry, I’ve got this.” Leela replied, but in her mind she was glad Fry still cared enough to tell her that every now & then.

   Walking out to the hangar floor, Leela paused at her locker to gather her parka, and cold weather gear. She heard Amy’s muffled giggling around the corner, and the sound of an equally excited male voice reply in the same giddy tone.

   “It looks funny. Is that supposed to point up like that much?”

   “No, no, you gotta hold it like this. Yeah, I’m serious, that’s how you do it.”

   Leela’s ears were burning. “Nooo, not with Amy, he’s not doing what I think he’s doing,,, is he?” She positioned herself to peek around the corner in way that she wouldn’t be seen. She balled her fists up, and squinted angrily expecting to see the worst, as she turned her head.

   Much to her surprise, and relief, it wasn’t what she feared. Amy had been watching Dave practice a rather long instrumental ballad he’d been writing, and became quite curious about how he did it so well.

   “That’s good Amy, just like that. Slide your index finger down here, okay, then follow through with this one.” he said, as he helped her position her fingers, just for a few simple chords.

   Amy had to adjust the shoulder strap to it’s shortest length, but on her small frame the beautiful white Ibanez guitar still hung down far past her waist.

   Leela smiled and stood by, idly watching the impromptu lesson for a moment before interrupting.

   “Sorry to have to end your session guys, but we’ve got a delivery, and we’re short a delivery boy. Care to sub for Fry again Dave?”

   “Yeah, okay, just give me a sec to lock this away, and grab my coat.” He said, as he secured the guitar back in it’s hardshell case.

(Planet Express Headquarters, 02/26/3009 - 0847 NNY time)

   Planet Express had suddenly become very busy after the Xmas holiday. Both Professor Farnsworth, and Hermes Conrad, his faithful Bureaucrat, had been working the employees harder than normal to keep up with unusually high delivery demand.

   Hermes was ruthlessly enforcing Professor Farnsworth’s recently imposed 7-day, 14-hour-shift work week, to a much disappointed crew. Everyone was running on frayed nerves, and too little sleep. Even their plans for Valentine’s Day had to be scrapped, much to Fry, Dave, and Leela’s dismay.

   With the deliveries keeping Leela busy, and The Professor keeping Dave busy across the street at his Lab/Warehouse, they hadn’t seen each other in weeks. Dave especially was becoming increasingly agitated whenever he was interrupted by any of the other Planet Express employees. He’d been searching numerous archives in vain, in the hope of finding out what happened to his Mother, and two younger brothers, after he’d left the 21st century.

   On a search of the National Media Archives’ website, Dave discovered a small article from the Orlando Sentinel, dated October 14, 2008. The article only mentioned his name, that he’d been missing since early June, but what stung Dave the most was the article’s final paragraph.

   “If my brother’s out there, I hope he’s alive, if he sees this, I wish he’d call, just to say he’s okay. None of us were on speaking terms when he disappeared, and my mom’s even more worried. She fears the worst might have already happened.”

   Dave cursed at Nibbler under his breath upon reading that. He’d been having recurring nightmares as well, in which he saw ghostly figures, fire engulfing everything, then waking up soaked in sweat.

   There were some times when his Farnsworth-induced stress made him want to force that little three-eyed furball into sending him back to 21st century Florida. His life may have been in the gutter, but he still could have patched things up with his family, and started over in another part of the state.

   Lately, Dave had become so agitated by some of his co-worker’s behavior, that wouldn’t even come into the Planet Express office at the start of the work day, not even for coffee! He preferred to walk two whole blocks to get it, rather than have to endure Dr Zoidberg’s insistence of examining him , Farnsworth’s baseless accusations for things that happened when Dave wasn‘t even in the building, or one of Hermes’s stupid meetings.

   The long work days, and his work environment were driving him crazy. Sometimes, he wanted nothing more than to just get in his truck, drive away, and not look back. This wasn’t his city, let alone his century! He felt no connection to anything. The only bright, shining light in his life keeping his sanity intact was Leela, but they hadn’t seen each other for over a month!

   Walking back from the convenience store with his morning coffee, Dave’s wrist device chimed an incoming call. Seeing “Planet Express” on the caller-ID screen, he sighed, uttered an obscenity under his breath, and reluctantly clicked the “answer” button.

   “What is it now Professor.” he answered monotonously.

   To his surprise, Hermes’ voice came over the small speaker.

   “We started the damn meeting twelve and a half minutes ago! Where in Bob Marley’s ghost are ye, yah bum?” he shouted in his thick Jamaican accent.

   “*sigh* Look, all I do is watch after a damn warehouse full of old surplus equipment, and fix useless crap that Farnsworth doesn’t even use! What the hell is so important?”

   Hermes paused for a few seconds before answering. “Jus’ git ya lazy butt over to da office!”

   With his patience near it’s breaking point, Dave hurled the steaming hot cup of coffee as hard as he could against a crumbling brick wall, exploding into a cloud of steam as it splattered to the ground. “Dammit to hell!” he growled, as he marched back towards the Planet Express building.

   Flinging open the side door, much to his surprise, the huge green spaceship was sitting on it’s landing gear in the hangar. By this time of the day, it was usually gone. Off making a delivery to some strange planet he’d never heard of before. Dave made his way towards the conference table, expecting to hear the Professor’s maniacal ranting.

   “*Arghhemm*, now that everyone’s ‘ere, may I continue?” Hermes said sarcastically, clearing his throat. “Dere’s been some complainin’ about how ‘tings are bein’ run ‘round ‘ere, and it’s high time I reminded everyone about their contracts!”

   With an angry slam of her fist on the table, “Can it Rasta man! We know our contracts, and we’re also well aware of what we’re entitled to!” Leela interrupted angrily.

   “You & The Professor have been working us like slaves for the last month n’ a half! We’ve all decided, and we’re all taking advantage of our personal days for the rest of the week!”

   “YEAH!” came a collective shout from the rest of the group around the conference table.

   Professor Farnsworth knew he’d been beaten. After all, he’d rather just close shop for a few days, rather than go through the Bureaucratic hell of having to hire new employees.

   “Ohh, myyyyyy. Well, I know when I’ve cracked the whip too hard. Off you go everyone! Uhh-byeeee!”

   Hermes shuffled dejectedly back to his office. Professor Farnsworth placing his withered left hand on his shoulder, as he spoke.

   “There, there Hermes! We can always fire them later, eugh-tax season is right around the corner , and I also have sixteen huge boxes of patent applications I’ll need you to file for me.” Hermes twitched in ecstasy when he heard that,. He didn’t have to be told twice when it came to paperwork.

   “So, you’re okay with us using our personal days for the rest of the week then right?” Leela asked, sounding a little stunned by The Professor’s lackadaisical response to the group demand for time off.

   Turning back to face the group, Farnsworth shrugged, and said “Eugh-yes, uhh, unless you’d rather I have Hermes fire you all now?”

   “WHOLE WEEK OFF WOOOOOO!” shouted Bender, as he tore the top off of yet another full-size keg of LoBrau beer, draining it into his cavernous belly cavity in seconds.

   “Uhh, nope, Bender speaks for us all!“ said Fry, as he ran to the phone on the wall to make plans with Jeannie, provided that she wasn’t being equally over-worked by the DOOP.

   After weeks of being apart, Dave and Leela rushed to each other, kissed and embraced as the meeting ended. He felt the weight of the enormous stone he’d been crawling under, had just been lifted off his shoulders.

“Heeheeheee! *BUURRRRP* I know what those two are gonna do!” said Bender, as he crushed the now empty keg against the side of his head. “OWW!” as he reeled from being smacked by Leela on the other side of his head.

   “Bender, that was completely uncalled for! Although, the thought had occurred to me a few times, it was still rude of you!”

   “Sorry Leela, won’t happen again!” Bender said, in his normal mocking tone.

   Slamming the receiver down into it’s cradle, Fry uttered a disappointing “Crud!”, as he walked back over to re-join the others

   “What’s wrong Fry?” asked Leela

   “Awww, it’s Jeannie. I haven’t been able to get ahold of her in forever! Hey Bender, wanna go with me over to her place, see what she’s been up to?”

   “Nahhh, I’m good fleshwad, you go have fun!”

   “Oh c’monnnnn, they’ll probably be some stuff you can steal, at the very least, some free booze!”

   Heaving out a bored sigh, Bender rolled his eyebulbs, then flipped off the TV set.

   “Okay, but you better deliver on that free booze promise!”

(Old New York (NNY Sewers), 02/26/3009 - 1135 NNY time)

   “Thanks for coming with me. My parents will sure be happy to see us, also to see these supplies & new clothes!” Leela said happily, as they walked along a dim, torch-lit service tunnel, both carrying large cardboard boxes.

   Old New York never ceased to amaze Dave. He nearly tripped several times, just looking around at the surroundings as they walked. The lights of the main settlement appeared, as they got closer to the end of the service tunnel.

   The noises of a crowded market grew louder. Children’s laughter could be heard, as the eerie light from dozens of small gas torches and trash can fires grew brighter in the distance. Dave distinctly smelled a sharp odor of a burning fuel, very similar to gasoline.

   “It’s Distilled Whale Oil. Stinks something awful, and it smokes really bad too, but it’s all they have for their fires, and the boats.” Leela explained, as they walked on. They passed through another tunnel arch carved out of a mountain of concrete rubble. Two airboats simultaneously fired their engines up, and sped off in the direction they were walking from. The trash-strewn canal ended in a cul-de-sac, surrounded by wooden boardwalks, and ramshackle buildings came into view.

   A third airboat was still floating alongside the rotting piers of the boardwalk. A disfigured man tried in vain to hand-crank the air boat’s propeller. Suddenly, the boat’s engine roared, belching flames from it’s modified exhaust pipes. In a flash, the boat shot forward, and struck the pilings in front of a large derelict open-air market. The boardwalk creaked and groaned from the shock of impact, followed by a large splash.

   “Daaaadeee! Hellllp, I can’t swim!” came a frightened child’s voice. Dozens of people gathered at the edge, all shouting for someone to help, but as seconds went by, still nobody would come to the drowning child’s aid.

   Leela turned to say something, but found herself talking only to herself. Unbeknownst to her, Dave had shed his jacket, and was in the rancid, potentially toxic water, halfway to the helpless youngster, who was now beginning to slip under it’s surface.

   “Ohh God, the water! It’s mutagenic! Why did he,,, he doesn’t know!” Leela screamed, but nobody heard over the commotion of the crowd, as she ran to the edge and dove in.

   By now, Dave had the young girl in the grasp of his right arm, clinging to him for dear life, as he swam to the awaiting crowd gathered on the dock. A distraught man, wearing a ragged business suit, and sporting a third arm, growing from out of the top of his head, pushed his way to the front of the crowd.

   “Susan! Daddy’s here! Where are you?” he shouted, as the people by the water’s edge moved back, to let Dave climb up out of the stinking pool.


   As soon as he hit dry land, the little girl, who was still holding onto his back for dear life, began to cry out for her father.

   Dave managed to calm the shaking girl a little bit. She appeared to be about 5 to 7 years old, and she didn’t appear to be mutated as much as everyone else. Her skin did look a little green and on the scaly side, but other than that, she appeared to look like a normal human being.

   “It’s okayyy, you’re not in the water anymore! You’re safe now darlin’.” as he held on to her. She was still holding onto his shoulder for dear life, as he kept his arms around her, keeping her calm, as he scanned the crowd for a sign of anyone who knew her.

   A pair of hands grasped Dave’s other shoulder from behind. He jumped at the surprise at first, but then realizing it was Leela, relaxed.

   “Awwww, poor thing, she’s scared half to death! Hellooo honey! I’m Leeeelaaa, where’s your mommy, or daddy?” Leela said, as she wiped the little girl’s dark brown hair out of her eyes.

   By now, the tall, raggedly dressed man with the third arm had fought his way through the throng of onlookers to where Dave and Leela stood.

   “Susan! My god, you’re safe!” he exclaimed as he breathed a heavy sigh of relief. The 3-armed man began to introduce himself.

   “Leela? What a surprise! Oh, I am sorry, where are my manners. I am Raoul, Supreme elected official of the sewers! I must say stranger, I am eternally grateful for you saving my Susie!” Raoul said, as he lifted his daughter from Dave’s arms, and into his own. Susan still appeared to be scared, as she looked all around, before burying her head in her father’s shoulder.

   “Oh, it’s quite alright, she’s a little shy, with you being from the surface and all. Once again, I’m indebted to you stranger, I don’t know what I’d do if I’d lost my one and only.” he said, with a shaky voice.

   Leela stepped in, interjecting “Raoul, this is Dave, he’s a friend of mine, uh, long story short, we were on our way to see my parents, when that boat hit the pilings, and she fell in.-Oh, you don’t look so good Dave.”

   “Raoul, these waters, they’re mutagenic! He jumped in!” Leela shrieked, as she looked Dave up and down.

   “No, no, no Leela! He’ll be fine, we decontaminated this waterway over a year ago. The mutagen is only in the west sewer complex now. But still, keep an eye on him!”

   “Well then,,, Mr. Dave is it? If you ever need a hand, or three, haha, little mutant joke! But seriously, should you need assistance down here, I am at your service my friend!” Raoul said, with a large smile.

   “C’mon, let’s get you to my parents’ place. Get you out of those wet nasty clothes.” Leela began to say, before being interrupted by the sickening sound of Dave becoming physically ill behind a pile of bricks.

   Rummaging through one of the boxes, she pulled a bath towel, and blanket out, wrapping them around Dave, as he sat on the rubble pile, waiting for the nausea to subside.

   “Morris, Would it kill you to drag the fire barrel over here closer to the couch? The poor man’s soaked right through!”

   “Yes dear.” grunted Morris, as he pulled the rusty 55-gallon drum along the bare floor.

   All Munda could do was look at the sight in her living room, and laugh a little.

   “It seems like every time you kids come down here, some kind of near-disaster occurs. Anyway, thank you for the supplies Leela. Oh, and Dave, that Anti-toxin should have kicked in by now, so you’ll be okay very soon. Coffee anyone?”

   By now, Dave was resting somewhat-comfortably on the worn out couch. Leela’s mother kept a specially prepared anti-toxin at the ready, mostly due to Fry always getting sick, or injured poking around his old home city.

   Leela leaned over, kissed him on his cheek, resulting in his eyes slowly opening, and meeting her’s.

   “Feel any better?”

   “Yeah, I do now.”  he said, as he stared into the trash barrel fire’s glow reflecting in her glass-smooth eye.

   Despite the unpleasant side-effects of swimming in toxic sewer runoff, they were at least finally able to spend some time with each other.

   “That was an incredibly brave thing you did back there.” said Morris. “Raoul was sayin’ nobody else jumped in after her, that everyone just stood there watching.”

   “Ohh, , , yeah. That poor scared little girl, but she’s alive, that‘s what matters.” Dave lamented.

(Random NNY high-rise apartment building, 02/28/3009 - 1500 NNY time)

   “Hellooo? Whew! It’s roasting in here!” Fry said, as he pushed the front door to Jeannie’s apartment open. He seemed oblivious to the strange graphics adorning the walls, and the several open fires burning in strange metal pots around the rooms.

   “Hey Fry, you sure you got the right place? I mean, it’s cozy, just like what I’d imagine your humanoid females would love, but this has that dank, blistering hot, Robot-makin’ steel foundry kinda atmosphere about it.” Bender said curiously, as he studied the strange dwelling.

   “Yeah, I know what you mean” Fry said, as the pair walked towards a droning sound in the rear of the home, behind a closed door.

   As if he’d been heard approaching, the strange sound and eerie light ceased as Fry’s hand touched the door. 


   Fry nervously leaned on the door, sliding it open by about an inch.

   “Hey babe, it’s me, Fry. I kinda dragged Bender along with me, so do you got any extra alch-”

   “YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE COME HERE!” Jeannie viciously snapped.  Her voice sounding much lower that her usual cheery high-pitch.

   “What’s wrong? I thought you’d be happy to see me, what with all the extra runs I’ve had to go on, and you being all busy n’ stuff with the DOOP."

   “GO AWAY FRY! I DON‘T WANT TO SEE YOU!” her voice becoming more strained and angrier with each word.

   "Well, that settles that! Fry’s a lone wolf again, and I get my best friend back! Woo Hoo!” exclaimed Bender, as he did an about-face towards the door.

   Fry lingered by the door for a bit. The weight of the situation clearly confused him, but why was she acting like this? Why didn’t she want to see him anymore? The heavy sad feeling he’d known all too well began to fill his chest.

   “Yeah, let’s go.” Fry said monotonously as he turned, exiting the apartment behind a happy whistling Bender out onto the cold, rain-slicked sidewalk.

(Planet Express Storage Warehouse, 02/29/3009 -  0200 hours NNY time)

   “Okay, Okay! I heard you!” Dave shouted out, after being awakened by furious pounding on the steel double-doors at the back of the warehouse.

   Fumbling in the darkness, his hand found the light switch for the dim hallway light. The small window in one of the doors revealed a hard rain outside in the even dimmer light of the streetlamp, and a lone figure trying to peer inside.

   With keys in one hand, and a loaded handgun in the other, Dave flipped on the light on the exterior of the doorway, “Step a little closer please.” he yelled, then waited for the shadowy visitor to walk closer to the light.

   Satisfied with the person he now easily recognized, Dave quickly unlocked the door, and let in a sharp blast of freezing cold wind, then closing it as quickly as possible when the soaking wet visitor got across the threshold.

   Shaking off the icy rivulets of rain, she began to remove the dripping overcoat. “Jeannie? What are you doing here?” Dave said curiously.

   “I’m sorry I came here so late, in the awful weather, but, , , I need help, I needed to talk to someone." She said, clearly upset over something, as water continued to drip from her long black hair, still plastered against the side of her head.

   Dave handed Jeannie a large bath towel, motioning to a small circular table in the living unit’s kitchenette. She was still dressed in her white & gold DOOP uniform. Dave admired her numerous decorations, the small gold diamonds indicating her rank, and a few rows of odd-colored ribbons.

   Jeannie began to talk, but was shaking uncontrollably from exposure. Dave stopped her, placed a large steaming cup of coffee in front of her “Here, drink this before you get hypothermia.” Jeannie gratefully accepted the cup, thanking Dave repeatedly.

   When she stopped shaking, Jeannie began to tell Dave about what had caused her to rush out in the middle of the night, into the teeth of an incoming winter storm. She paused to drink deeply again from the cup, basking in the warmth it returned to her.

   looking up again at Dave, with a very sad expression on her face, she spoke. “It’s Fry, he broke up with me!” she said, both eyes now beginning to tear up. “He came by my apartment yesterday, said it’s over, said he’d found someone who “got” him, someone who he said had a “kindred spirit” with!” she said, making air quotations again. “Fry said that he’d been trying for years to go out with this woman, and that she’d finally shown some interest back at him! Why? Why would he do that?”

Dave looked at her, thinking to himself for a minute, then asked her “Did Fry say who this woman was?”

   Jeannie gulped, then answered loudly “I forgot her name, but she’s that space-pilot with one eye at your company!”

   Dave shot up out of his chair “Wait, what? Are you sure?”  he said, now feeling a slow burning sensation beginning to grow inside his chest.
   Beginning to look almost as upset as Jeannie, Dave repeated his question, hoping she’d say it was somebody else. “Jeannie, , , are you sure he said it was Leela?”

   Now beginning to sob into a handkerchief, Jeannie nodded a quick “uh-huh” as he sank back down into the chair. “I saw them a few hours ago! Arm in arm, leaving a bar of all places! Fry’s stupid singing robot was following them too!”

   Jeannie flew out the chair, running towards the door. “I’m sorry, I have to go!” she wailed between sobs. A loud crash echoed down the hall, as the coat hanger fell over, and the doors burst open. Dave ran to catch up to her, but as he reached the doors, she had disappeared into the night.
Dave cursed as he locked the double-doors, “No, this isn’t happening, not again!”

Near Death Star Inhabitant
Urban Legend
« Reply #30 on: 04-12-2009 22:56 »

I've just read  the whole thing from page 1. really brilliant stuff, good work. Keep going!
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #31 on: 09-08-2009 21:54 »

Finally finished Chapt 16! It's long, so I had to split it, so not to incur the wrath of the letter cap.

(Ch 16, part one)

                          STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND
                                                                            Written By: La Belle Leela

Chapter 16


(Planet Express Headquarters, 03/01/3009 - 0935 hours NNY time)

   The previous night’s winter storm had all but blown itself out by the time Hermes arrived to open the office. Several odd-shaped packages littered the floor of the reception area, all undoubtedly dropped through the overnight slot.

   “Fry!, Bender mon! Git out ‘ere an get ‘dees packages loaded!” he yelled, and he slid his keycard, punched the security keypad, and entered his impeccably clean office. Everything looked as it should, but a strange object on the floor in front of his desk caught his eye.

   “Hmm, what could ‘dis be? Maybe Zoidberg’s finally resigning! Oh mon! how great would  ‘dat be!” He said softly to himself, as he picked up and examined the envelope. No postage stamps, no indication of where it came from, the envelope was just a plain white standard size, sealed, and addressed to “Hermes Conrad” in black uppercase letters.

   “Hey Fry, why are we doin’ this? We got that new Organ Sack! He should be loading the overnight crap!” Bender groaned, as he lugged the last, and heaviest of the packages up onto the loading platform of the Planet Express Ship.

   “Yeahhh, I know whatcha mean Bender. Hey, Dave hasn’t come over yet, he’s probably still sound asleep, jerk! That could be me still sleeping!” Fry comically lamented. He sniffed the air, as he stared at the weird fluid leaking out of the box Bender just dragged across the hangar floor.

   “Nahh, it’s probably nothing serious, just like those Neptunian organs we had to take to Transplant-7 a few weeks ago. BENDERRRR,  ALL MY CIRCUITS IS ONNNN!” Fry yelled, as he hit the switch, raising the cargo platform into it’s closed position.

   Rushing out of the hangar, Fry nearly bowled Amy over as he ran for the lounge.

   “Gahh! Watch it!” she exclaimed, letting several choice Cantonese swear words loose.

   “Sorry Amy, didn’t see you there.” Fry apologized, as he landed butt-first next to Bender on the couch.

   “Spleesh Fry! You almost put me through the wall! Oh, and this came for you.” she said, as she handed a plain white envelope, similar to the one Hermes received, to Fry.

   Fry resumed his slumped posture on the couch, as he tore the envelope open. He read for a few seconds before an almost-silent gasp left his mouth. “What? Why? What’d I do?" he read a little more, “How could he do this to her? Ohmygod, she must have been crushed!” he choked out, as the letter slid from his hand to the floor.

   Amy saw the look of shock on Fry’s face. “What, what is it Fry?” she said, as she picked up the letter, giving it a quick scan.

   “Jeannie,,,, she dumped me! FOR HIM!” Fry growled angrily, feeling a great deal of rage building inside his chest.

   “I went to her place the other day, and she was acting all weird n’ stuff! How was I supposed to know what was going on? She didn’t seem like everything was okay, I mean, what with all the stone carvings and open pit fires laying about the place!” Fry said, his face turning two shades of a darker red, as he kicked the wall.

   “That sure doesn’t sound right Fry, and I know women!” Amy said sympathetically.

   “How can this be? Dave n’ Leela, they‘ve been going steady for months now! Why would he be hooking up with Jeannie?” Amy yelled, as she finished reading the letter. “Of all the two-timing-ohh, how could he do this to Leela!” Amy said sadly.

   Suddenly, Amy jumped up from her seat. “Oh, I’m totally going over there!, and giving that bastard a piece of my mind!” she said, as she stormed off out of the lounge.

   “Dibs on the corpse!” Bender yelled, as she slammed the door behind her.

(Planet Express Storage Warehouse, 03/01/3009 - 1021 hours NNY time)

   WHAM! WHAM! WHAM! “YOU OPEN THIS DOOR!” Amy yelled, as she pounded her fists on the double steel doors of the warehouse’s living quarters. After almost ten minutes of relentless fist pounding, Amy walked around to a side window.

   She peered inside the shop maintenance area. “Huh, that’s odd, his truck’s still here.” She jumped back startled, as she heard footsteps crunching on the gravel footpath behind the building. Amy gave a sigh of relief, realizing it was Fry joining her.

   “Amy, is he in there? We need to talk, NOW!” he said angrily.

   “I don’t know, I mean, his truck is in there, but he didn’t answer the door, and I like, knocked on it forever!”

   Fry walked over to the window, grabbing an empty steel garbage can along the way.

   “Fry, what are you gonna do?”  Amy asked nervously.

   “When you live with Bender, you learn a few things about stealth entry into locked up places!” he said, as he heaved the trash can up over his head, and with a mighty grunt, he launched it at the window, shattering it with a mighty crash.

   “That’s stealth entry?” Amy said, lowering her arms from their protective position around her head.

   Broken glass littered the smooth concrete shop floor. Fry wrapped his jacket around his left forearm, clearing the rest of the broken glass away from the edge of the windowsill. With a slight struggle, he managed to pull himself up, and into the warehouse without falling. He reached back, grabbing Amy’s hands to help her climb through.

   “What about the window Fry? The Professor’s gonna go nuts when he sees the mess!” said Amy.

   “I could care less! That jerk stole my girlfriend!, and even worse, he dumped Leela! She must be so upset right now.” he said, looking at the floor sadly as they started looking around for Dave.

   “*sigh* I can’t believe I thought he was the right guy for her! After I believed all those things he said, how he felt every time he saw her, every time he thought about her!” said Amy. The two of them looked all over the warehouse, finding not a soul in the place.

   “C’mon Fry, he’s could be anywhere by now.” as they exited, this time through the door.

(Planet Express Headquarters, 03/01/3009 - 1115 hours NNY time)

   “Fry, where in Babylon is Leela? The deliveries should have went out an hour ago!” Hermes screamed, as he and Amy entered the lounge.

   “You mean she didn’t come in to work yet?” Amy said, sounding really worried.
   “Jah! I’ve been calling her apartment non-stop. Where could she be?”

   “What about her wrist-thingy? Surely she’d answer that.” Amy added.

   “Nope, she must have the office number blocked or something, because I can’t get through!” he added. “And to further add to my list of problems, it seems ‘dat our new employee, Mr. Murphy has taken it upon himself to resign! Now da Professor’s gotta find anudder individual to take care of his extra inventory!”

   “HE QUIT?” Fry, Amy, and Bender yelled out altogether.

   “Jah! Seems he’s fallen hard for‘dat tall dark-haired woman from da DOOP who was here a while back,,, and he, says, they’re,,, eloping!”

   “That tears it! Bender, let’s go! I can’t take this anymore!” Fry said bitterly, both fists clenching up, as he headed for the hangar exit.

   “Wait up Fry mon, ‘dees packages still gotta be delivered! Amy can fly da ship just fine!”

   “Can’t do it Hermes, ship’s broken.” Fry said, motioning at the big green spaceship perched on it’s landing gear, ready to go.

   “Da ship’s fine ya bum! Now get going!”

   Fry tapped Bender on his back, motioning with his thumb towards the ship. Bender, as expected, gave the ship’s front landing leg a swift kick, causing it to fold under, and the whole nose of the ship to come crashing to the hangar floor, effectively rendering it useless.

   “Like I said Hermes, ship’s broke. I‘m outta here!” said Fry, as the threesome exited to the street.

   “Fry mon, jah gone loco in tha coco for real ‘dis time!” Hermes said to himself, as he went back upstairs to fetch Professor Farnsworth.

(Old New York (sewers) 03/01/3009, 1130 hours NNY time)

   The stench was always bad down here, but never overpowering to him. In the semi-darkness, something behind him slithered over a rock, making him involuntarily turn for a look. Dave’s mind was going in two directions at once. Sadness and anger were already making him feel on-edge, now fear was joining the group, for he was in semi-darkness, alone, and armed only with a flashlight.

   Dave passed the now familiar collapsed stone wall, that led to the rotted wood planking boardwalk that snaked through the mutant’s settlement. His light fell upon a torn, faded poster. A sickly green man with four eyes, and an outstretched pointing hand “PROTECT YOUR HOMELAND! JOIN THE MUTANT DEFENSE FORCE TODAY!”
   After a little more walking, he arrived at the dilapidated front door of Morris & Munda’s home. Taking a deep breath, Dave thought “I hope she’s here. I need to know!” as he rapped his fist three times on the door. A dim light grew brighter, as he could see a shadowy figure through the cracks in the door. Dave stepped back, feeling uneasy about whether or not he would be welcome here.

   “Why you bast-NNNNGHH!” came an angered man‘s grunting voice, followed by a wide swinging blow. Dave felt the rush of air, as the wild punch narrowly missed his head. 

   “Some nerve you’ve got showing yourself down here! I’m gonna do to you what you did to my little girl’s heart!”

   Dave steadied himself, Morris stood before him, wearing a dingy undershirt, instead of his usual cardigan. He didn’t look like a fighter, but he swung his fists hard and fast. The stocky mutant advanced towards Dave, malice gleaming in his one large eye.

   “Morris! WAIT! It’s not what you think it is! Just listen to me!” Dave pleaded, as he backed up a little.

   “Okay, you’ve got one minute! Hey,  you guys hold him!”

   Dave didn’t see or hear them. Several pairs of mutant arms reached out from behind him, and grabbing his arms. Struggling did no good, their grip on his arms tightened the more he tried to wrestle free.

   “Nnghh! Morris! What are they doing? Get em’ off me! What do you mean I broke her heart? You’ve got it all backwards!”

   “Whaaaa?” Morris said, walking closer. “If you’re trying to weasel your way outta this, Munda’s gonna make good on her promise to feed you to the crocs! START TALKIN’!”

   One of the mutants started jabbing something cold and sharp into Dave’s lower back flesh, right where he’d been wounded.

   “AGGGHH! SHE LEFT ME! SHE LEFT ME FOR FRYYY!!!” he screamed, as the tip of the weapon dug deeper into his scarred lower back.

   “For a topsider, you suck at lying! What a fool I was to think you’d stay by her side!” Morris said, his voice shaking with rage and sadness.

   Dave felt the sharp instrument back off, as if he would be allowed to answer his accuser.

   “Listen! All I care about right now is finding Leela! Something is seriously wrong, and I need to talk to her!"

   “Time’s up!” Morris said, reeling back towards him, landing a solid punch to his gut.

   “SERIOUSLY WRONG? Oh, like leaving that letter pinned to my daughter’s front door, telling her it’s over, telling her that everything you two have done for each other was meaningless, and you were running off with another woman you’d been seeing on the side! How you only feigned friendship, until her idiot boss could send you back, but now can’t! I should split you up the middle, and spill your entrails where you stand!”

   Dave’s eyes now fixed on the dirty, crumpled ball of paper in Morris’s hand.

   “Wait, WHAT? What letter? I wrote no such thing! Look, Fry’s girlfriend Jeannie shows up at my place, in the pouring rain, at 2 in the morning, crying her eyes out that Fry dumped her, as she bumped into him & Leela coming out of a bar earlier that night!"

   Morris just stared at him, giving no sign of backing down. “Go on!”

   “Please! You have to believe me! There’s no way in hell that I’d ever do that to Leela, For crying out loud Morris, she saved my life! They could have easily left me to die on that godforsaken robot hell planet!”

   “You suppose I should believe that? Your so called “letter” said it was meanin-” Morris’s reply was cut short by another’s

   “LET HIM GO! NOW!” came a angry female voice from the darkness, followed by three laser blasts, that struck the rocks behind the mutants holding Dave back. They instantly released him, scattering for cover, as he dropped onto one knee, coughing from the pain in his abdomen and back.

   Heavy footsteps pounded on the wooden boardwalk, a moment of silence before he heard it.

   “Thanks dad, but I can take it from here.”

   The pain subsided enough to where he dared to look up. There stood Leela with her father, a standard-issue Planet Express laser pistol clutched in her left hand, while she took the wadded up letter from Morris with her other one.

   Leela unfolded the letter, wincing bitterly as she looked at it again, then dropped her view to look at him.

   “Alright, you came down here to find me, well, here I am.” She said quietly.

   Still down on his knees, Dave didn’t understand why she didn’t put the gun away, Leela sort of just held on to it, like she was expecting to use it at any moment.

   “Do you honestly believe I wrote that?”

   “Maybe I do, and maybe I don’t.” Leela said quietly, while turning to face the other way, still flexing her fingers around the laser gun’s grip.

   “I don’t know anything about a letter Leela. All I know is that Fry’s girlfriend shows up at my place at 2 in the morning, crying herself crazy about being dumped in the worst possible way, after bumping into you & him coming out of a bar after a date! She told me it was over between them, she said Fry finally realized who he was meant for all along! All I wanted was to do was see you, to see for myself if it was true.” He said, now standing back up, Strangely, Leela still kept her back turned toward him.

   “I don’t know what to think of all this Dave, none of it makes sense. I’m NOT going out with Fry! He was being a drunken idiot, and I was just being a friend, and taking him home. I have no idea what‘s going on!”

   “That makes both of us.” He wheezed.

   Realizing what he was about to do what could be the last thing he ever did, Dave walked towards the end of the walkway where Leela lingered.

   “Ask yourself again Leela, do you really, honestly, truthfully believe that I put that horrible thing on your door?"

   Leela finally turned around. Her eye was shimmering in the reflections from the torch lights over the walkway.

   “My heart doesn’t believe you are capable of something this cruel! But my mind says you’re just another jerk in line, waiting for your turn with me! Waiting to kick me to the curb & humiliate me after you’ve had your fun!”

   Dave stood mere inches from her. Without taking his eyes off of her’s, he bent back down on both knees.  The muzzle of the laser pistol in her hand was right at his eye level. His eyes fell to look upon the gun.

   Looking back up her, he said “If that’s truly how you feel, then please, do me a favor.” He suddenly, but not quickly, grasped the barrel of the laser gun, still firmly in her hand, and pulled the muzzle gently against his forehead.

   “If you believe that’s the truth, then I’m already consigned to hell! I didn’t write, or place that letter on your door. If you truly feel that I’m the one responsible for causing you this pain, then pull that trigger! Because without you, living means nothing!”

   A few seconds passed, then a loud ‘thunk‘ of metal falling onto wood, as the laser pistol dropped from Leela’s hand onto the wooden boardwalk.

   “Look at me!” she commanded. Dave looked up, as two big teardrops rolled down her face. “I can’t do that!” as she too dropped to her knees, and closed her eye, as she pulled him close.

   “No! There’s no way that note could have come from you! I know it, I feel it deep down inside me, to hell with what my brain says!”

   His face still buried in Leela’s shoulder, he choked up as he spoke his muffled sentence. “I love you Leela! Now and always, I do!”

   “I know, I know, I love you too! Don’t you ever forget that!” she said, with what sounded like a small laugh, as she composed herself, and stood back up.

   “C’mon, let’s get outta here. I know two people who need to apologize to you-OWWW!” Leela exclaimed. The hard ground seemed to rush up to meet both of them. Blackness clouded her vision before she could see what was attacking them.

   A small, but strong arm brandishing a heavy object smashed both of them on the backs of their heads, rendering them unconscious.

   “If I can’t make you understand by explanation, then I must show you.”
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #32 on: 09-08-2009 22:17 »

(Ch 16, part 2)

(A small, cramped spaceship, Location Unknown. 03/03/2009 - 0900 NNY time)

   It sounded like a faint, rhythmic hum at first. Slowly, Dave opened his left eye, then the other. Blurry vision greeting him, his instinctively reached for his glasses, forgetting that with a blast from a laser device, Professor Farnsworth had corrected 20 years of wretched myopia.

   His hand didn’t go very far. The cramped ship’s cabin barely had enough room, he was compacted against a side wall with another unconscious human form. He managed to twist his upper body so that he laid with his back to the cabin floor. The small spacecraft had a clear bubbletop canopy, with no structural bracing to obstruct the majestic view of deep space. Dave’s vision cleared, as he focused on the distant galactic formations.

   “Do not struggle! You are safe!” said a husky voice from a small seat inches from where Dave lay.

   “Safe? Where the hell am I?” Dave said groggily.

   “Do not worry, you are being escorted to my home planet, Eternium.” the voice said.

   By a reflection of control lights, Dave noticed the pilot of the small craft. “Nibbler?”

   “Yes” came a quick reply

   “It became necessary to take the both of you to this location. I had hoped logic and reason would be enough to convince the two of you, Your- *ahem* I mean, our worlds are in serious danger, and time is of the essence! I had no choice but to bring the two of you to Eternium, to show you the horrible evidence our oracles have discovered! Now, please relax, all will be explained upon our arrival, in three Earth hours.”

   “Great, now what?” Dave thought, as he stretched his numbed right arm out, only to bump it into something that felt like a mass of hair covering something hard. “Oww!” yelled Leela.

   “Please, both of you be still. We will be landing shortly.”

(Planet Eternium, 03/03/2009 - 1115 NNY time)

   A small welcoming party was waiting, as the small transport hovered over the landing pad briefly, then alighting on it’s gangly tricycle landing gear. Several Nibblonians gathered in a hastily assembled welcoming party.

   Nibbler hopped down from the tiny space vessel, followed by loud, painful groaning, as Dave Murphy, and Leela slowly climbed down, their joints making loud audible popping sounds, as they shook off their long journey in the tightly cramped ship’s cabin.


   Nibbler turned around at the grotesque sounds, and waved a pair of medical officers over to aid his companions. “Leela, David Murphy, I apologize again for the inhospitable travel accommodations. If you desire medical attention, it is here." he said, as the two Nibblonian first aid responders gawked at the two hunched over humans that waddled around the pad, obviously in great pain.

   Still hobbling, and bent forward at the waist, Dave wished he had an elephant tranquilizer-sized dose of painkiller to jam into his lower back. His whole torso burned with white-hot pain. Suddenly, he felt a needle jab him in his side, turning, he watched as the tiny Nibblonian pushed the plunger. He instantly felt the pain subside, as he watched the plunger finish it’s trip to the bottom of the syringe, feeling no pain at all when the needle was pulled swiftly out of him.

   Dave watched as the other medic injected Leela in a similar fashion as she lay on the ground, only administering her dose by way of her left thigh. “The Eildicath should ease your suffering. Come now, the both of you are expected, in the Great Hall of The Everlasting Feast!” Nibbler said, as he motioned for the both of them to follow. Dave grasped Leela’s hands, helping her stand, as they exited the landing pad.

   Dave gawked in amazement, an action he had done pretty much at every new place he’d discovered in this new millennium, at the huge domed banquet hall. An enormous round table, large enough to seat well over a hundred humans, sat in the center of the hall.

   Three dozen hooded figures sat in silence, as Nibbler took his seat, urging the two Earthicans to do the same. Several seconds passed before anything happened. It felt like hours passed, before one of the seated Nibblonians stood up, and greeted the new arrivals.

   The small creature removed it’s hood, looking much the same as Nibbler did, but revealing two different features. This Nibblonian revealed four pink ribbons tied into bows atop it’s head, and two shiny, metal-capped fangs, as it began to speak in a gruff, but clearly feminine voice.

   Nibbler leaned over, whispering at Dave. “She is our leader. Stand by to be introduced.” he said, as he leapt onto the table, removing an oversized item from his bandoleer pouch.

   “My fellow Nibblonians, I come before you today to report that I was successful in retrieving the Sacred Lexicon, and more importantly, safely bringing both of “The Others” here to Eternium.”

   Small hooded heads twisted left and right, as the little creatures exploded in loud chattering between themselves.

   “Nibbler, why did you bring us here….again?" said Leela. “Uhh, I mean me, I’ve been here before.” she said nervously, looking over at Dave.

               “You were both in danger. We had no alternative than to evacuate the two of you to Eternium.” Nibbler explained.

                 Dave was still busy looking around at the strange complex. Out of a heart-shaped window, he saw everything outside the window, as far as he could see, was colored a sickly purple, or bright pink. “Man, this trip gets weirder & weirder!” he thought, shaking his head side to side. “I still don’t think any of this could be real. I’m probably lyin’ in a coma in some hospital, and this is one helluva medically-induced drug trip!” He thought, staring further at the gaudy landscape. He took one final look before heading back over to the table. “San Francisco would loooove this place!” Laughing a little from his joke.

                  A hologram appeared inside a lighted sphere in the center of the table. Leela’s eye shot open in terror, as she reeled backwards, instantly recognizing the form rotating inside the sphere.

                 “Do not worry, it is only a hologram.” Nibbler calmly said, as he studied the image for a moment before speaking further.
   “What is that thing?” Dave and Leela said in unison.

   “A Fu-Kiru!” Nibbler answered monotonously.

“They are the ones bent on the destruction of any galaxy that does not submit to their rule. Many a star-system has been exterminated at the hands of them. They are known only as “Fu-kiru”! Creatures born of the darkness, entities whose only purpose is to conquer and kill for their own gain!"

“Sooo, are they alien,,, humankind,,, robot-kind?” he asked

“Neither! They are elemental, conjured of fire and shadows. Taking control of other life-forms through soul-stealing is how they ensure their sustenance. They cannot be stopped by conventional forms of warfare."

“But doesn’t Earth, the DOOP know about this?" Leela shouted, as her right hand reached involuntarily for her left forearm. “Ohhh dammit! Where’d it go?”

“I have tried many times to convince the leaders of your planet, only to have my warnings fall on deaf ears! I enlightened them about the nefarious three who were aiding these creatures arrival to Earth,”

“What are we supposed to do? What about Fry? He’s a part of this too!” said Leela.

   Nibbler paused, then continued to speak, as the room darkened, and a glowing sphere the size of a golf ball appeared. Slowly it expanded, until it hovered over the table.

“As you all know, our Oracles have imparted to us the knowledge of the universe. Handed down by each generation since the creation of all life, approximately 33 minutes after they themselves were created.”

     Leela and Dave looked at each other, clearly confused by all that they heard Nibbler speaking about.

“And now that the Sacred Lexicon has been found, we finally have the upper hand in stopping the tyranny that these evil beings bring forth, and the googolplexes of slain civilizations they will surely leave in their  wake.” he explained

“Philip J Fry will also be brought to this location, but he is still needed elsewhere.” Nibbler said, as he zoomed in on a section of the floating spherical map overhead.

   The map sphere began to clear into a sharper image of a dark location. An object moving in the upper corner of the sphere caught the camera’s eye. Slowly, the image of Fry, crawling amid rocky piles of rubble, his bright red jacket came into sharp contrast against the black debris surrounding him.

   “Fry!” yelled Leela.

   “Much like your primitive Earth television, he cannot hear you Leela!” Nibbler explained, Leela glaring at him angrily.

   Another movement caught the camera’s attention. A lone figure dressed in clothing as dark as it’s surroundings followed Fry, pausing behind rubble every now and then, to avoid detection.

   “There! Fry has almost succeeded in drawing it out.”

   Leela became more incensed. “Nibbler! Are you using Fry as bait? He could be in real danger!”

Nibbler calmly assured her that he would not come to any harm. “As long as the Capture-Sphere works, he’ll be unharmed.”

   Leela started to chew him out again, but Nibbler silenced her, as movement on screen caught his attention “There, Look!”

   Fry walked to bright spot of light shining on a seemingly bare patch of concrete. A pile of broken cinder blocks sat in the middle, Fry immediately noticed something out of place. A shiny metal object, smoothly tapered, with it’s small screen & keyboard. Fry gasped, instantly knowing who it belonged to.

   A small note, hastily scribbled, was tied to one end of Leela’s wrist communicator.

                                                    YOU MUST NOT FAIL US,
                PRESS THE “RED” BUTTON”

   “Huh? What the-” Fry didn’t have time to finish his thought. He didn’t even hear the person following him through the darkness of the sewers. Now he laid dazed and confused on the ground, as he tried to figure out what, or who just tackled him!

   The thing from the darkness came out of nowhere, pouncing on Fry’s chest. He scrambled for the wrist communicator. He knew whatever it was, he kept hearing a voice in his mind, telling him he had to depress that button!

   Fry’s attacker succeeded in landing on him again. He rolled over, the thug’s face softly illuminated. “You!” Fry gasped, pushing the red button inadvertently at the same time.

   A bright yellow ball of light engulfed Fry and the figure in drab. It suddenly contracted, then extinguished, taking Fry and his mystery assailant with it.

   “He has done it! “The One” has succeeded!" boomed Nibbler’s voice.

   “What did he do?” Dave asked.

   “We have been trying for some time to capture the Fu-Kiru spy that made it to Earth some time ago. They knew that we had identified the final “Other”. They sent a scout ahead to make sure we did not succeed in bringing you here David. Come now! We must get to the containment facility!” Nibbler said, as he hopped down from the table.

   “But you still haven’t told us what were supposed to do?” Dave shouted at Nibbler’s back, as they hurried down a long corridor.

   “There will be time to explain that later! Time is of the essence, if we are to learn of the enemy’s intentions from this captured foe!”
   The threesome exited the corridor into a large atrium “this way!” yelled Nibbler, as he veered right down another long hallway.

   Finally, they stopped at a doorway. Two interlocking force-fields of red laser barred their way. Nibbler leaped up, slapping a rectangular button, causing the lasers to dim. “It is safe, let’s go!” he ordered.

   Two more laser barriers later, they stood inside a rectangular room, it’s walls glowed with the same red laser meshed force-field as the doorway. Two unconscious figures laid on a bare metal riser in the room’s center.
   “Fry! Are you alright?” Leela shouted, as she forced her way towards him. Even as fast as she sprinted, Leela was passed by five Nibblonian guards. The guards began to subdue the shadowy-clothed figure with strange looking catchpoles. Slowly, they lifted the angry, writhing, semi-conscious creature a few inches into the air, and backwards, until it was further subdued by the red laser grid covering the walls.

   “We have the entire room covered by this grid. No chance of escape!” said Nibbler, a small grin spread, revealing his canines.

   Fry had come to his senses enough to stand back with his friends. The captured Fu-Kiru scout snarled as Nibbler began the questioning.

   Just as it had on earth, it’s face slowly began to illuminate. Minute wisps of smoke and flame curled out from under it’s hood.

   “NEK’ A’HOK! ANH GROSH! YOU WILL ALL DIE!” hissed the creature. One of the Nibblonians, catchpole in hand, yanked back the captive’s hood.
   The room collectively gasped. Nibbler approached it again, only this time with his Eternian interrogation device at the ready. He waved it teasingly in front of the spy’s face, which stopped hissing, and slowed it’s breathing as it studied the device.

   “That’s better. You know what this is for, don’t you?” Nibbler said coolly.

   The spy replied in a much quieter manner. “Yesss, I do, but I will not give you what you seek, no matter how many times you use that damned Freez-R on me!"

   “Fine, have it your way!” said Nibbler, as he lunged forward, jabbing the spy in it’s leg with the device. A large cloud of steam, a sharp yell of pain, and loud sizzle sound reverberated around the room, as Nibbler repeated his question.

   In between roars of pain, and Nibbler’s coercion by torture, everyone in the room finally heard what they wanted.

   “It is too late! My Lord, All-mighty Malaan d‘Gansh has already deployed for their galaxy! In one week’s time, it shall belong to HIM!” the spy said, as it finished it’s confession with a strange incantation, no doubt genuflecting upon it’s leader.

   Nibbler walked over to Fry, Dave and Leela. “I trust you now understand what your galaxy, and so many others are now facing?”

   The three of them collectively shook their heads, as Dave spoke.

   “I only understand that there’s an unseen enemy poised to invade our planet, you still haven’t told us what the hell exactly we’re supposed to do!”

   Nibbler looked up at him, stone faced. “We have prepared battle plans in the adjoining room. Come with me.”

   The restrained spy suddenly screamed, as it’s body strained upward against the restraints. The smoke and flame grew larger, and it’s screams became more horribly human. “Take cover!” shouted a Nibblonian.

   A fire, brighter than burning phosphorous engulfed the floor and wall where the spy was held. The screams of pain increased, a woman’s scream, more terrifying than anything they had heard filled the room again. The intense fire suddenly consumed itself, strangely, giving off no heat, as the room temporarily became voided of oxygen.

   Fry coughed noisily, as did his companions, they slid around on the cold grey floor, feeling for the exit, when the conflagration ended.

   The space of wall that once held the prisoner, now only displayed a crumpled heap where it met the floor. A few of the Nibblonians approached the mass, nervously poking it with their catchpoles. Satisfied that no movement occurred, Nibbler, Fry, Dave, and Leela approached.

   The mass of clothing appeared to be robes of some kind. The fire had done no damage to them, yet they were not made of Asbestos, Nomex, or any other fire-resistant cloth Dave had ever known. Leela was busy scanning the clothes with her wrist-device, while Fry’s curiosity got the better of him, as he slowly turned over a fold in the robe.

   He instantly froze in shock. His mouth opened but uttered no scream. Dave’s heart dropped, as looked upon the pale, lifeless face of someone Fry, and everyone at Planet Express had known all too well.

   Leela kneeled down beside Fry, but her comfort was unwanted. Fry pushed her hands back, as he crawled back to Jeannie’s body.

   “Nooo, no, this isn’t happening! How, how could this beee? How could I have been so stupid!”

   In a slightly choked voice, Dave assured him. “Fry, this wasn’t your fault! You didn’t do this to her!”

   “Yeaaa, yea I did.” Fry cried, “They did it to her, because of us, because of ME!” his sobs becoming louder. Leela finally took charge, she sat him up, pulled him closer, hugging him tightly.

   “Fry, listen to me. There wasn’t anything you could have done. They would have probably killed you too, if you discovered her back on Earth!” Leela paused for a moment, to try and let some of what she said sink in. “I know you loved her Fry.” Leela said, as her eye filled with tears. “Don’t ever forget her. I’m sure she wouldn’t forget you.”

   Fry straightened up, wiping his face on his t-shirt. “We have to take her home. We have to take her back to Hawaii, where her family is. That’s what she’d want.”

   Nibbler pulled Leela aside, as Fry still clung to Jeannie. “Here, we haven’t much time.” as he handed her a navigation disk. “The coordinates to the location of The Sacred Lexicon are on this. Please acquire it before it is too late!”

   Leela took the disk, Her sense of duty would have made her leave on the spot to retrieve it, but looking at Fry, she had already made her decision. “We’ll get the book, right after we take her back to Earth, and raise the alarm about the invasion!”

   Nibbler’s crestfallen expression returned. “I tell you, they will not listen! Please, I implore you, not to waste any more time!”

   “We have to try! Listen Nibbler, we know people high up in DOOP, they can be trusted! We’re gonna need all the help we can get, both of our planets!” Leela pleaded.

   A group of Nibblonians appeared in the doorway. “Lord Nibbler! Their vessel is ready!” Nibbler nodded in compliance.

   “Go, now! Back the way you came in. Our largest, fastest conveyance awaits!” shouted Nibbler.

   Fry began to wrap Jeannie’s body tighter in the scorched rags that surrounded it. He began to lift her up by the shoulders. Without saying a word, Dave and Leela lifter her from the cold floor, as Fry gained a better hold. “Thank you” was all he managed to squeak out.

   A spherical-shaped craft awaited them on the landing pad. This was the largest class of ship in the Nibblonian fleet, yet the cabin was barely bigger than Dave’s hover-truck.

   Two more Nibblonian soldiers waited at the aft cargo door on the vessel. Fry’s face screwed up into an angry scowl. “NOO! She rides with us! No way she gets stuffed in a cargo hold!” he said, as the two soldiers promptly closed the hatchway, and scurried away in fear.

   As they seated themselves inside, Leela glanced behind the Captain’s seat, heartbroken as she saw Fry still holding Jeannie’s cold, lifeless hands.

   Nobody said a word during the return flight. The hum of the engines, and an occasional passing spacecraft broke the eerie silence that all onboard seemed to enjoy, after what terrible course of events had taken place mere hours ago.

(DOOP Central Command Complex, 03/04/3009 - 1125 NNY time)

   Fry found little comfort in the DOOP Chaplain’s office. He and the others sat, as two Lieutenants from the Inspector General’s office wrote down their statements.

   Major Garrote, the officer in charge of investigating Jeannie’s disappearance had dropped by for a word with the Planet Express crew as well. “The three of you are well known around here. Word traveled quickly, when someone mentioned that she’d been found. These cases don’t usually have a happy ending. Lt. Sims will be missed, she was an outstanding officer, and a fine member of the Judiciary Corps!”

   One of the Lieutenants pulled the Major aside, showing him notes he’d written, while speaking barely above a whisper, as he pointed at the three Planet Express crew.

   Sitting back down in front of Fry, Major Garrote wanted to be sure of something.

   “Mr Fry, are you sure you didn’t notice anything, reeeeally weird about her behavior over the last several weeks?"

   Fry looked down at the table, then back up at the Major. “Well, yah, but she just said she was having a hard time at work, alotta stress n’ stuff. Said she’d been sick a few times too.”

   The Major squinted, cocked his head slightly, as he replied “Sick? What kind of sick? Cold? Neptunian Flu? Flesh-loss? Ronald Reagan Syndrome?”

   “Nooo, not really. She just kept her heat at her home way up, built little fires n’ junk. Hated to have anything cold near her. I thought it might have been that Ann Coulter’s Disease I‘d heard was going around, but her behavior otherwise wasn’t that crazy.” Fry said.

   “Thanks for your time, Colonel Rudess from Graves Registration will be here shortly.” Major Garrote said, as he picked up his cap, tucked it under his left arm, and followed the two Lieutenants out of the room.

   The late morning sun beamed in through the slatted window shades, and the Terraformed tree landscaping showed leafy green signals that Spring was coming. Fry certainly didn’t seem like his normal self. He seemed dazed, like time itself had stopped, and was waiting for him to give it the okay to resume.

   “All right Professor, I’ll tell him.” Leela said, as she pressed the “end call” switch on her wrist computer. “Fry, Professor Farnsworth, and the others send their condolences. They’d all like to come along to say goodbye, if it’s okay with you.”

   Fry sat up a little, turned and looked at her, as if to say something, but instead nodding a silent yes.

   A quick knock on the open door, as a sincere-looking Colonel Rudess stared briefly at them, as he entered the office.
   “I’m so sorry for your loss.” The tall, balding man with a wispy white goatee said, as sat next to where Dave and Leela were seated.

   “Thanks” mumbled Fry, Leela & Dave.

   “I’ve made the arrangements to have Lt. Sims’ remains brought to Planet Express this afternoon. The Honor Guard will be escorting the flight to Hawaii shortly thereafter. I wish all of you the best in this time, and The Chaplain would like you to know that he will be here for you, if any of you need counseling, or just to talk.”

(Planet Express Headquarters, 03/04/3009 - 1351 hours NNY time)

   Shortly before 2pm, a long white DOOP hoverhearse pulled into the delivery bay beside the gleaming, newly-repaired delivery ship.

   Six DOOP soldiers, in sharp dress red uniforms, entered the side door, and lined up at the hearse’s rear door. A loud hydraulic motor whined, as the Planet Express ship’s lift platform descended from it’s belly.

   Amy Wong, Dr. Zoidberg, and Hermes all joined the other crew beside the lift. All were dressed in various styles of black clothing, Zoidberg in a tattered, and smelly old suit, Hermes in standard bureaucratic-issued funeral attire, and Amy, looking the best of the three, in a very revealing jet black cocktail-style dress & matching veiled hat.

   Dave, Leela, Fry, and Bender, who applied a finishing coat of black spray paint to his backside, waited, and watched from the other side of the lift. Dave and Fry both wore suits with black armbands, Leela, as always wore a modest, floor-length black dress, her hair now tied low, flowed from under a black wide-brimmed hat.

   The leader of the escort detail barked a series of orders, as the casket extended automatically from the hearse. Each soldier grasping a handle, as the casket, draped in an Earthican flag, was lifted free of the hearse.
   Heels clicked in unison, as the escort slowly marched towards the rear of the delivery ship. The casket was gently placed on the lift platform. The soldiers stood back, clear of the lift, as their commander sharply saluted Lt. Sims’ casket. Dave stared at the casket. He’d attended military funerals before, for his comrades, and his own Father. Although Dave did not fear death, he hated the agony he always felt, seeing how much someone’s passing made his family & friends hurt.

   Dave turned to Fry, he too wasn’t taking his eyes off of the casket. “Jeannie’s death will not be in vain Fry. Soldiers sometimes die in the line of duty, that’s the risk they take-” Fry cut him off with his reply, “The bastards’ll get theirs! She didn’t deserve to die, not like that.” he said, his voice drowned out by the lift motor, as it ascended, the escort detail commander keeping his salute up, until the lift was locked up in place.

   Fry kicked the ship’s ground power umbilical cable, as everyone boarded. The overhead doors screeched as they slid open in their tracks. The ship gave a little bump, as it’s landing gear oleo struts extended, the full weight of the ship, now off the ground, climbing higher into the sky, joining the escort procession, as Leela pointed the nose westward, for the 10-minute flight.
La Belle Leela

Starship Captain
« Reply #33 on: 03-15-2010 04:34 »

Heya guys. Just wanted to say hello, and,,,

I haven't given up on this, been dealing with alot of IRL crap. I've been a nomadic contractor for the last two years, and I've finally landed a permanent position with one of my previous employers in another state.

I plan on continuing this epic, I just need to get settled, and iron out the next phase of this story from all the pages of notes and scribblings I've done in the last 4 months.
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