Disclaimer: The Futurama
name, characters, and settings belong to their respective copyright
owners. This is a work of fan fiction which has no commercial intent
or value and was created solely for my own amusement and for that of
other Futurama fans. The author would appreciate it if this work is
not placed on websites or reproduced in any form without his express
Author's note: This work
of fan fiction was inspired by and based on The Tragically Hip's epic
song "Nautical Disaster." The idea was conceived and
largely written within 24 hours, and I have tried to mirror the
lyrics and story of the song in this work, and hope I have done it
justice. For more information on "Nautical Disaster,"
please visit http://www.hipmuseum.com, the link to the "Nautical
Disaster Exhibit" is right there on the front page, although you
may have to scroll down a bit.
Writing this story was
nothing short of exhilirating. I couldn't be prouder of it, and it
definitely will not be my last. I hope you all enjoy it. Without
This was supposed to be so
easy. A simple stop, drop, and 'let's roll'. A routine delivery to a
part of the galaxy they'd gone to regularly. No reason at all to be
worried about any specific threat, other than the accepted fact that
this was outer space and that if something went horribly wrong, death
Turanga Leela, the
seasoned captain of the Planet Express ship who was known for her
stern style of leadership, relaxed herself as a period of downtime
took over. The course that she and her crew were travelling had been
traversed many times before, and any adjustments that she needed to
make with regards to navigation were carried out as if they were
reflexes. Indeed, she usually had her game face on while in flight,
but when you feel you've got everything taken care of, why not loosen
your grip a bit?
The Planet Express ship
was about five hours from home, and had just rounded the Centauri
star system. It was a no brainer, when coming to Earth or any point
in the solar system from this direction, to use this system's gravity
to a ship's advantage as a slingshot as it put less strain on the
engines and used a lot less fuel. Leela made one last passing glance
of each control. No alarms or lights of any sort. Everything was on
She swiveled around in her
chair and set her attentions on Phillip J. Fry, who seemed to be
straing blankly at his console. Fry was her long-time shipmate and
best friend for all intents and purposes...except one, possibly. For
the past several years, he had made advances toward her that she
didn't necessarily want. At first he had been motivated by pure lust,
but over the course of time his overtures began to express a profound
appreciation and fondness, even going so far as to pen an opera for
her. Leela never knew what quite to make of Fry's actions, so
inaction became the default reaction. He could be obnoxious and even
infuriating to be around and work with, but she loved him like a
brother and besides, starting up a romantic relationship with him
could jeopardize what they had in a way that could not be undone.
For the moment, though, it
was just the two of them. Amy had stationed herself down in the
engineering spaces, making sure the converters were operating as they
should, and Bender was in the back somewhere in hibernate mode. May
as well ligthen things up a bit, Leela
thought. "Well, Fry..." she spoke with a faint smile. As
soon as he heard her voice, he snapped out of his funk and spun
around to face her, giving a a wan grin. "it should be smooth
sailing from here on home." Fry nodded. He then turned back to
his console-staring match. Leela's smile began to fade, as her hopes
of conversing with her friend seemed to be dashed by a sense that
something was not right with Fry. "Is something wrong?"
Why hasn't it happened
yet? Fry agonized internally. How
much must I do in order for her to make her finally see how I feel
about her? Nothing I've done has seemed to work for long. It's time
for some REAL action, time for the kind of violent shove that gets
relationships started. At least on TV shows, anyway. At
once, he swiveled back around and stood right up. "Leela..."
he summoned. The ship's captain quickly yet casually spun around in
her seat, looking up at Fry with an answering gaze. "C'mere,"
he said and motioned with his hand.
"What is it?"
she asked, without a hint of genuine curiosity.
reiterated, now making the motion with both his hands. Leela stood up
and calmly walked over to him.
"You're not going to
do one of those fake egg-cracks on my head, are you?" she asked,
partially annoyed. Fry sensed this, but his resolve did not waver.
This is it, I'm going in, he
thought as Leela continued speaking. "Last time you did one of
those, I coul--" were the last sounds she could get out of her
mouth before Fry grabbed either side of her head and pulled her into
a deep yet sloppy kiss. She might have enjoyed the thrill of it for
the first fraction of a second, but she ultimately realized this was
something she did not want. The kiss had lasted for three seconds
before Fry tried to make a move to wrap his arms around her body and
hold her as close as he could. He then began to lean into her, which
started to throw Leela off-balance. She decided to end this awkward
discomfort by planting her feet and using her body strength to shove
Fry down to the floor, about three feet away. He landed on the floor
with a thud and feelings of confusion, shame and failure. He then
looked up at Leela, who had her brow furrowed in anger as she wiped
her mouth with the back of her left hand.
"What the hell was
that supposed to be?" Leela demanded. Fry got to his feet
slowly, brushing himself off.
"What was that for?
It was an attempt to finally make you see how I feel. I can't seem to
get it through any other way..." Fry replied, somewhat annoyed.
"So you force
yourself on me. I see, that makes perfect sense. I'm totally hot for
you now." she sarcastically spat. "You've seen what I can
do to people, Fry. It would be unwise for you to try and put moves on
me with nobody else around." The look on Fry's face changed from
one of vague embarrassment to one of incredulity.
"So...so that's it,
huh?" Fry sputtered. "That's all you think I was trying to
do, isn't it? Just 'put moves on you' with nothing else behind it?"
"I honestly have no
idea what goes on in your head anymore." Leela said
exasperatedly as she walked back over to the captain's chair, sat
down and crossed her arms. Fry was left standing in shock with his
mouth agape. He couldn't believe her opinion of him was that
"Leela, you have to
believe me...that's the opposite of...after everything I...I can't
believe...I wasn't trying to..." Fry continued to stammer as
Leela sat rigidly, not doing anything to further acknowledge his
presence in the area. At a loss for words and actions, Fry did the
only thing that seemed logical. He turned around and exited the
bridge, heading toward the bunk. On the way, he slightly woke Bender,
who cursed him before slipping right back into hibernate mode. As Fry
slammed the door behind him, Leela relaxed and sighed in disbelief. I
know he didn't mean any real harm, but how could he be so brazen? she
thought. With nothing else to do, Leela gazed blankly out the window.
Nothing much to look at out here, as the Centauri system was now
behind them and the countless other stars and galaxies of the
universe were outstretched before her, all of them so far away. There
did seem to be an object in the field that stuck out from the rest,
to the port side of the ship. Leela squinted and pondered about it.
In the bunkroom, Fry
cursed himself as he lay in his hammock. "I've done it now. I've
just gone from being so close to her to possibly never being on
speaking terms with her again. What can I do now? What could I
possibly say to her ever again?" As Fry lay trying to work it
all out in his mind, his eyelids began to get heavy. He didn't do
much to fight the weight, and chose to let sleep begin to envelop
The next thing Fry
remembered was hearing a myriad of klaxons. Before he could make any
sort of move to react, he found himself being slammed into the
bulkhead face first. The sudden jolts caused Fry to accidentally bite
his lower lip, causing blood to flow out at a steady pace. As he
struggled to make sense of what was happening around him - a process
which felt like it took hours but in reality only took a few seconds
- he noticed he did not land on any surface after his impact with the
bulkhead. Rather, he was floating in mid-air. He also noticed that
the air pressure in the bunkroom had changed dramatically, and was in
fact dropping steadily. Whatever was happening was not some minor
reaction to a change in the conditions surrounding the ship.
Something was terribly, terribly wrong.
be damned, Fry knew he had to leave the room and make his way up
front to try and assist Leela with the problems at hand. Not wanting
to go out unprepared, he swam through the air over to the built in
closet where an emergency spacesuit hung - although it now hung in
mid-air rather than on the hook. Putting one of these things on was
an involved process under normal conditions; with the chaos
surrounding him now it was almost impossible. Knowing that panicked
movements would only take him longer to get suited up, he calmly
worked his way into each part of the suit - the pants, the jacket,
the gloves, the helmet, the boots, and finally having to attach an
oxygen pack. The entire process took about 8 minutes. Fry hoped it
was not too late to help as he began to open the door and float out
into the passageway.
Fry's hopes were dashed.
It was too late.
He stopped dead in his
tracks right outside the doorway and hung on to the door for dear
life, If he would have kept going, he would have floated right out
into the icy blackness of space. The ship before him had been sheared
in half. All he could see was the other half of the ship, which stood
about 300 ft. away and was increasingly moving further and further
from the segment he attached himself to, and a rather sizable
meteoroid which was moving perpendicular to the path that the other
part of the spacecraft was moving in. Fry now began to panic as he
could see all sorts of debris floating about - loose items, fragments
of the ship itself, and what looked like pieces of Bender - but no
sign of Leela or anyone else in the crew. Desperation began to nest
in Fry's psyche as he kept clinging to the doorway, intensely
watching the other spacecraft fragment for any signs of life. The
other half of the ship was now at a distance of about 500 ft. and
still drifting. Fry knew that there was no way possible to retrieve
and salvage the two halves and somehow limp home to Earth.
"This is all my
fault." Fry said to himself. "If I could only just learn to
control myself. And if only I wouldn't react so badly to rejection. I
promise you, Leela, that if we make it through this, I'll back off
and accept you for the good friend you are." Tears began to form
in his eyes. "Just...please, please be okay..." he
Suddenly, a couple of
figures emerged from behind the doorway to the bridge on the other
fragment. As they came closer to the precipice of where the vessel
has been torn, a little light from Beta Centauri was shed on them.
Fry squinted as he came out from behind his doorway, stretching and
leaning out as far as he could while still being able to grip the
vessel. It was Leela and Amy, both in the same sort of spacesuit Fry
was wearing. They, too, were now coming to terms with the carnage
that had been inflicted on the ship. Fry could see that they were in
panic mode as well, as they seemed to be looking around desperately.
Fry waved his arms frantically and began to shout, when he realized
that there was no way they could possibly hear him. Leela and Amy
seemed to be completely oblivious to the fact that the part of the
ship Fry was standing on even existed. The space suits were equipped
with radio systems that could be used to communicate with other
suit-wearers, but intuition told Fry that in the time it takes him to
figure out how to work this stupid thing, he could conceivably swim
through space to reach the other half of the spaceship. His shipmates
appeared to be retreating from the scene of the wreck and going back
to the bridge. He knew what he had to do. Fry crouched down as if to
prepare for a big jump, and then propelled himself with all his
strength toward the other fragment.
Fry had been on spacewalks
before, but never before had getting from point to point in space
carried such urgency. He tried doing the breast-stroke as a way to
move forward quickly. He seemed to have no problem with the speed,
but when moving through space like this it is near impossible to
control your direction. Fry found this out the hard way as he floated
above the large cavity in the ship and toward the top of the hull. He
had overshot the opening and there was no way to course-correct. The
best he could hope for was to try to grab on to the the barrel on the
gun turret, which seemed to be attached to the top of the hull by a
thread itself. He was moving fast and the turret was
fast-approaching. He would be passing only about six inches above it,
so he prepared himself to grab it. When the precise moment came, he
grabbed a hold of the barrel and wrapped his body around it because
his life depended on it. His direction of travel changed, but his
speed only reduced slightly as Fry found himself sliding off the
barrel and along the contour of the front of the ship.
Fry knew he had missed his
big chance to stop his movement and reunite with his friends. He
frantically tried to dig his fingers into the hull to no avail. He
slid past the windshield, and got a glimpse inside as he passed. The
bridge area seemed to be completely bare with no signs of life. This
only served to make Fry more upset as he tried to hug the ship with
his entire body. There was nothing that could be done now, as he
reached the nose of the ship and slid off. Time and opportunities had
run out, and he now began to move away from the ship fragment. Fry
screamed in anguish at the thought that he now would not likely get
back to Leela and Amy to see if they were okay, that he did not stand
a chance of getting back to any sort of a normal life. He tried in
vain to swim back toward the ship, but the lack of air meant there
was no way to alter his course. He looked back in helplessness, the
two halves of the ship twisted away from each other at opposing
angles and still moving apart from each other. This was it.
Upon giving his helpless
look at the remnants of the Planet Express ship, he saw the staircase
descend from the bottom. Out came a long, white, tubular structure
with a rocket attached to the back. An escape pod. Fry hadn't the
foggiest idea that the ship had ever contained one, most likely
because Leela was so good at evading obstacles that he'd not thought
about needing one for a disaster such as this. Yet, here it came in
his general direction and it seemed to pick up speed as it got
closer. Fry was floating about four feet above its trajectory, and
decided he needed to make a move toward it so he could somehow hang
on. He began to try to breast-stroke his way towards where he thought
it would be. He was getting close to the nose of it and was reaching
out to grab it, when suddenly the pod's rocket-glow grew in intensity
to the point that the light filled up Fry's vision. He then felt a
thud in his chest, and the light was gone. So was the escape pod. As
Fry looked back to the vicinity of where the pod had just been,
nothing was there. He looked into the direction it would have been
travelling, and in the distance could see the glow that had nearly
blinded him getting fainter and fainter.
The weight of the
situation and everything that had just transpired sunk in. Fry began
thrashing madly in frustration. He also began to cry hysterically,
muttering words inbetween sobs like "no" and "please
come back". He was still drifting away from the wreckage, and
was now was at least a mile away from it. After calming down and
facing reality, Fry realized there was only one thing he could do
now. To float around in space like this until he died would be
torture. He decided that we was going to end this as quickly and
painlessly as possible. He unlocked the seals that kept his helmet in
place, and thus protected him from the harshness of space. A beeping
alarm went off in his ear to warn him about the seal being broken, as
if he hadn't realized it. Fry placed a hand on either side of his
helmet. "I'm sorry, Leela." he cried, and he began to lift
the helmet off his shoulders.
Fry felt a small jolt and
he was knocked out of his hammock. He scrambled to his feet and
realized he was still inside his bunkroom. The alarm he had heard in
his dream was going off inside the ship, but it did not equal the
calamity of the sirens he thought he had heard earlier. After a
moment the alarm died off, but Fry, who was still not fully awake and
recovered from his nightmare, began to look inside the closet for the
spacesuit. It was there, and he subsequently began the arduous
process of putting it on. Before he could even get the pants all the
way on, he heard a familiar voice come over the ship's intercom
"Fry, are you okay
back there?" Leela asked.
Fry stepped over to the
small console on the wall and pushed the button to respond. "I'm
fine right now. Is everybody okay up there?"
control up here. I just had to pull some sharp maneuvers to avoid
this meteoroid. I can imagine you may have gotten tossed about back
there, but you should have seen this thing!"
"Is the ship okay?
How bad is the damage?"
Leela paused for a second
before responding. "Everything is fine. No damage incurred. All
systems are go."
Fry paused and let the
events since he had stormed into the bunkroom sink in. He breathed a
heavy sigh, and a few tears of relief formed in his eyes. He needed
to get something off his chest, lest there be some sort of real
collision any minute.
"Leela, I'm so sorry
about the way I forced myself on you a while ago. I thought if
somehow..." he trailed off. After a few seconds, Leela picked
"While I didn't
appreciate the discomfort of it, I know you didn't mean any harm, and
I'm sorry for disregarding you like I did, Fry." The intercom
clicked off. Fry began to store the spacesuit back in its proper
place when it clicked on again. "The situation with you and I is
a very complex thing, and while I don't feel like getting into
another heated debate about it right now, I just want to let you know
that I value your friendship like nothing else ever. I don't know
what will end up becoming of us, but I need you to know that you are
invaluable to me, as a shipmate and as a friend. And that right there
is a severe understatement. I think I speak for both of us when I say
that I would like nothing more than to forget about this whole thing
and move on."
Fry flashed his trademark
grin and replied. "Done and done. If you like, the events of
earlier are already faint in my memory." Faint
as the sound of my fingers scratching on the hull,
his thoughts continued. The tale of his epic nightmare was one that
would have to wait for now.
"Good to hear."
Leela said, and Fry could hear the smile in her voice.
"You know how I feel
about you, Leela. I'm sorry that what I want from you gets in the way
of our friendship sometimes. But if I had to keep on with you on my
side as you are right now, I think it would be hard to find fault
with that." Fry assured. "Only a fool would complain."